the battered ornaments

the world is a war zone,
and you are a soldier -
not by choice, but by circumstance.
by fate.

here is the key to survival:
you swallow down the love,
stuff the words you wanted to say 
into the farthest crevices of your ribcage
so that even if they excavated your body
it would take them centuries to uncover
that holy secret.

you structure your smiles 
with cold metal daggers and grenades,
so that your lips are a funeral march,
so that even just the slightest twitch
will wreak death and fire and hell.

they will applaud you for your valiant efforts,
they will adorn your broken, battered body
with ornaments of courage and medals of honor.
they will tell you,
“you are a great soldier, child," 
and they will tell you,
"you have done a great service not only to us,
but to yourself.”

and there you will stand,
among the wreckage of the child you once were.
there you will stand,
your legs trembling upon the skulls
of those you left behind when you ran away
seeking solace from this life of pain.

the world is a war zone,
and you are merely a casualty.

—  the world makes warriors of us all (h.q.)