He Grows – Danielle Moles

he wants to fit in…

Topical and very thoughtful, we thank Danielle Moles very much for her excellent offering to the blog and competition. Danielle is currently studying at the University of Lincoln and hopes one day to pursue a professional career as a writer. In her spare time she enjoys creating poetry and is clearly very passionate about the arts. We appreciate you sharing your talents with us Danielle.

He Grows


the start of his life

was a rough one. Severely

asthmatic, two holes in the attic

of his heart not lessening

the love he had to give


but nowhere to place it

parents gone

no place to belong.

nevertheless, he grew.

Four months later

he met two foster carers,

a premature child

wrapped his hands around

the woman’s thumb – mum

looking up, wide eyed,

into the face of a new home

he lay, a lifespan

in the palm of the man’s hand

he would never be alone.

The parents wanted him to stay, prayed,

couldn’t part with the new addition

to their family.

Problems – though not their own – arose

he was not their blood and bone,

but chosen

they were a family of white,

the young boy was not

was falsely written that

he would not fit in – but he already had.

they loved him as their own,

the children loved him too

he grew.

He became part of a family at four

the title of son he wore


the picture complete

the fleet; whole and content

what could be overcome,

was. Together.

Brown –

he thinks, down

he feels disparate, separate

due to words of the past

that never last

due to binary opposites

that society imposed to segregate

due to hate

many years before him.

he was loved

more loved here than anywhere else

he is loved still.


he questioned his existence

a hundred times more

he wondered



could parents abandon children

his mother told him

parents are not those who bear you

but are those who raise you,

they put plasters on the grazes,

rip plasters from the feelings

that aren’t healing,

and comfort

she comforts him.

He fears abandonment,

once more, tears up

he is afraid

she tells him she will be there


or at least, for many more days

he makes her promise

to live until she is one hundred.

he grows.


is when

he had already wanted to be

a footballer,

a singer,

a dancer,




he is all of these things.


he was angry

at how small he was,

at all his friends, family,

teachers, at the system.

he was angry

at no one but himself.

He was fidgeting

he did not listen

the teacher asked him if he is stupid,

preached to him about the future

he left

he hid under tables

disguised his flight as strides

and ran from authority

shouted at his mother

and doubted himself

no one understands.

He was diagnosed with ADHD.

He gets angry

when you mention it

he tries to grow

he is a tough kid

but he cries

after the show.

He is cruel

his sister walks him to school

he pushes her into the road –

i hope you die – he lies

he yells

his parents are patient

but he is persistent as well –

i wish you never adopted me

you hate me

i hate you.

familiar records repeat

an hour later he makes amends.

he is cruel

to defend himself.

He is afraid

of losing them

he is afraid

they will leave him

after all he puts them through.

he grew.


he hangs around

with the wrong crowd

street corners, music, loud

these boys play with knives,

bb guns, and cigarette butts

they play with their lives

he wants to fit in.

He is frustrated

the schools, comprehensive

cannot comprehend

so just apprehend

behaviour that offends them.

He goes home angry, again,

he shuts his door

and cries


he cannot understand

he puts his fists to the punching bag

then the walls, then the white flag –

then nothing at all

he sprays aerosol until his breath is lost

he curls into a ball and suffocates

on the pressure rolling him thin

he is lost.

He catches his breath.


he experiences death

for the first time,

mature and yet naïve,

waits each night for the

dead to rise again

maybe she will surprise us when

he thinks

nothing is forever

not even death.


he cries to his mother

he said he hated

and she holds him tight

to calm him


he never meant it

and never will

he knew too

he grew.

He sits on his sister’s bed

slurring a story

one she’s heard before

he stirs

but she listens;

he’s hurting

he asks to be cuddled

and falls asleep

she keeps watching

his tiny back move

deep under the quilt

worried, then

he is a baby again

she watches

shallow breaths

oxygen deprived

minimal movement

but, alive.

unsleeping, her eyes follow

for a cover drop

fearing that it will one day


But he is a fighter

he is aerosol to a lighter

the craters in the heart concave

to a slight

the pain inside eases

more each night

he will continue to fight.

He is still obsessed with comparison

colours, size, origins,

learning difficulties and medical conditions

one broken bone,

two interior punctures,

two inhalers,

four surgeries,

five sets of medications,

eleven major asthma attacks,

fifteen injections,

twenty sprains and muscles pulled,

twenty-five blood tests,

thirty sessions, counselling or other,

countless concussions,

and a dozen other various pain sources later –

He is growing.

Danielle Moles, University of Lincoln

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

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