by Cassie

I always feel like a fraud
in that first moment
a white-out blow-out
of the cursor blinking
a Morse code of creativity
an SOS to


before they blow up
inside my body
sentence fragment shrapnel
tripped over booby traps
of wasted emotional space

but who gave the orders
for me to be here on the ground
I never asked to wield these words,
heavy-handed swords,
hair-trigger grenades,
half-burning dynamite strapped
to a chest made up of
the fragile bones of birds
and the heartache of a borrowed rib

I didn’t come willingly
to take up arms
of adverbs and interjections
against a vast army of the unnamed
I was drafted into this life
of silent over-contemplation
and never-casual observation
My birth was an act of treason and
I’ve always been the only casualty

With the shaking hands of an
exhausted soldier
I’ve hollowed out a hundred foxholes
lined with unnecessary insecurity
I’ve huddled under a blanket
cut from itchy disbelieving and
hid my face from the weight of
the naked stars that make up the
constellation of a writer

so I sit in this bunk of a sofa
a blank battlefield before me
and on either side lies the
debris of a decimated alphabet,
these stanzas the spoils of war
Every poem a simple recitation
of name, rank, and serial number
A prisoner of the written word
A novel Stockholm Syndrome