By Claire Burianek

I knew a boy once

He thought he was a man. 

A big strong man 

Who could command the heavens 

And tell me who I am. 

I knew a boy once. 

He was not a man. 

True men know their limitations. 

They do not push others down to raise themselves. 

And they always respect women. 

I knew a boy once. 

He told me I was not valid 

That my experiences did not matter 

And that my emotions were a weakness. 

I believed him for a time. 

I knew a boy once. 

He genuinely thought 

He was acting from 

A place of love 

While he was tearing people’s lives apart. 

I knew a boy once. 

I never truly knew him, 

Though he let me think I did. 

He let me think he could improve 

When he never had such an ability. 

I knew a boy once. 

I do not know him anymore, 

An incredible blessing. 

I finally let him go 

And it is the best choice I ever made. 

I know a man now. 

He recognizes his mortality. 

He encourages the people in his life. 

He respects all women, not just me. 

And that is how I know he is a man.