I wake up each morning and prepare for a war that is not mine to fight.
My backpack strapped to my body like a casual wear bullet vest,
always in season when we are weighed down by the empty casings
of the weapons that tear through our fellow soldiers.
We only seem to get younger.
The day after a shooting in a school just like ours,
students are expected to file back into a classroom,
place their lives in the hands of every other person around them,
and hope that they make it home.
And then it’s been a week,
and the fear feels almost gone.
Almost like we are safe, as though never could it happen to us.
I can almost touch the normality of the conversations around me
until the reprieve of our battles end when a book falls,
or somebody is shouting in the halls.
Our fallen brothers and sisters have left us scarred
with memories of events we have yet to experience.
When the governments recruiters are stationed in our hallways,
reminding students that military is an “amazing post-grad plan”
I can’t help but feel manipulated.
We are already fighting a war against something our government should have taken care of
a long time ago,
but their inaction leaves us carrying our safety on our backs
hoping with everything in us that we don’t get killed
in the pursuit of our lives.