Peace in the Coliseum

Our playpens are coliseums

and we take our first breaths

in pools of blood.


We teach ourselves terrorism,

and then award medals

to the soldiers who made the most enemies.


We learn nonviolence

to assassinate injustice.


But I've always been overlooked

around the sound of competition

because when the fight begins

no one listens

to anything but the baying hounds,

the battle cries,

the blood pounding in their ears.


No one listens to the sound

of an olive branch,

an outstretched arm.


I want to charge on a white horse

and save all the broken girls with their broken worlds

but I've always been squeamish about the sounds of battle

and I cannot be a warrior.


I will not be a warrior.

We do not need another warrior.

We do not need another crusader and another cause and another fight.


I want to charge on a white horse

but this world has had enough of warriors

and fighting will always be the easy way out.


Fighting is clarity. There is only the enemy,

and the baying hounds, and the blood

Black, white, and red

like the way beneath the skin we're all the same.

Red like poppies or roses or love

Cultivate your garden

but it will always be easier to fight

because that's just black and white.


I choose the challenge.

My beauty is my blood, unspilled,

pulsing in my veins and choosing to stay still.

My body pulls towards battle,

but I will not fight

because on the other side of enemy lines

is another person, with their heartbeat in their ears,

trying as hard as they can to conquer their fears.


I choose peace: difficult, unglorious, vain.

I choose to wrap my arms around suffering and look it in the face.

I can't save those broken girls and their broken worlds,

I can't ride out and conquer.

I can only offer my arms and my ears,

small comfort in this world of tears.

I can only choose water,


parting around obstacles

to make them disappear.


This poem is about: 
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 


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