My stories are not of gunfire, flowing crimson
rivers, nor springtime in bomb shelters. I have
never stood at the precipice of a death I never
saw coming. I always see it coming. My mind
is its own enemy. It waves the white flag of
surrender but never does. I fear the day I am
forced to tell my children about the violence.
How silent the struggle, how fruitless the fight.
I’ve seen things, I’ll say. And maybe I’ll leave it
at that, I’ve seen things— like a body I could
not identify, an unknown soldier, a lost life.

How I always see it coming, how I only flee
at the final second. How real the terror of
one day hearing the shots and choosing to
stay still, unmoving, just to see who survives.

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