Everything we worked for is at risk by Maya Horton

I am not a silent poet

It started in childhood. That low hum

of disapproval at our parents’ mistakes. We tried

to tutor them in a humanity they wouldn’t understand.

Sacrificed shiny-shoed futures

to make art in run-down houses, underground bunkers, drink

cheap wine around trashcan fires. We fell in love,

grew up – in vegan squats and railway carriages – dogs

on strings. Saluted the sun, that solstice-pink sun.

And now, there are armies (or will be), and bombs.

Now there are others – obeyers – with drones. Now

they will round up the sick and creative. Our

minimum-wage jobs? The first to be cut.

Outsourcing. Empathy is a chain –

with it, they will choke us, bind us. Throw us aside;

one day we will long for those trashcan fires

woodsmoke and starlight,

those childhood nights

spent tip-toeing around a passed-out parent.

We were supposed to change the world, weren’t we?

We were supposed…

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