Up in your tower with rifle in hand
ready to quell a rebellion:
“Just stand in perfect formation – Don’t blink and don’t bleed –
Don’t you try anything – unless you succeed.
Don’t show your hunger – Take up the slack –
Don’t be seen thinking you’re something you lack –
Don’t step in places where you don’t belong –
outside these walls they all know you’re a con.”
Acute and unyielding, relentlessly mean –
I want you to know that, my darling, you’re seen.
In the time of the siege when rations were low,
it was you who made sure that consumption stayed slow.
When detente into skirmish invariably broke,
our head below crossfire you kept, and you woke
through the night with your ears tautly tuned
to the rumblings of hellfire
and never assumed what the morning would bring.
You knew that one firefight could change everything –
everything ever and always at stake,
one misstep from us could make everything break,
so you taught us to tiptoe through lands full of mines,
to be diplomat/decoy/defender
to find what the moment required us to be
and shapeshift so quickly that no one could see.
Your vigilance sheltered me, carried me then.
But the time of the siege…it came to an end.
It ended a while ago, darling. I swear.
If I tune out your voice, don’t assume I don’t care –
you constructed a fortress to help us survive.
Don’t be angry, my love, if I wish now to thrive
in these wide open spaces – I know love – they’re scary –
with no hiding places to shelter the wary.
We’re better at margins and better at walls,
and in places where others can run we still crawl –
but please don’t be angry with us about that.
My darling, it’s just that we’re at where we’re at.
We’re here. And we’re breathing still. After the siege.
With time left to find out what things may yet be.