Levi Todd: five acts of gentleness between men and one overriding it all

by Levi Todd



the barber smoothes the shaving cream

across the base of my neck, steadies my trembling

shoulders, and never needs the styptic powder



the competitor presses his temple to his teammates,

draws his body close and lets the tears trickle

into a fountain of relief



the trainer knows exactly when i’ll buckle,

placing two fingers under my ribs to lift me up

with the delicacy of moth wings.



the boy and I creep around the church

playing spies as boys do, oblivious

to any fear of proximity



an older boy holds my older hand

under a blanket for the first time, my smile

spoiling a secret we don’t have to keep


6. (I find these to be phenomena.)


Hannah Schneider