Katy Costikyan, Member

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When I first learned to form words,

my nimble fingers stitching syllables

into threads of love and naivety,

I was handed a loaded gun

and told of the lifetime supply of ammunition

that rolled around in my head.


My fingers brushed the trigger

with each parting of my lips,

knowing how easily my mouth

could spew forth a kill shot.

I thought I drowned alone

in a sea of responsibility,

a lone gunman shooting at a barrel.


But ugly lips shaped ugly words

and aimed a bullet straight at my heart,

staining my flesh with the bloom of blood

and my mind with a jagged scar.

Perhaps I wasn’t just a soldier

but also a victim of war.


When I first learned to use words

I placed sharpened linguistics

onto a bow strung with filaments

threaded with anger and hate.

Eyes sealed, I aimed a perfect shot.

The effect was instantaneous.

I walked away from the mirror.


Filled with congealed reluctance and distress,

the ground was always broken glass;

one wrong step and I would detonate.

The faceless cocked their heads,

pursed their lips, clucked their tongues.

The coals of their eyes feigned softness

as they pulled out their firearms.

“You’re too young to hate the world.”


I entered the world with a rifle in hand.

I couldn’t be blamed when it pointed inwards,

when I saw the hues of autumn

and stroked the barrel, and decided

that if leaves had to die to be beautiful,

didn’t I, too?

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