I gave the hero of this story trust
issues. So that when his castle fell he
wouldn’t worry about the damsel still
calling from the ramparts, where I hold court
in the dust. For this is my battlefield
where the headstones will read like love letters
and the weeds will serve as the royal seal.

I gave the hero of this story hope
a magic bean and two old china cups.
But the china, brittle, the bean rotten
as these once fertile lands lie waterlogged.
You can’t grow your crops here, boy, go home.
I’ll drown this hero before he can stand
the sight of the muddy bank. A hero’s death.

I gave the hero of this story bread
water, and melody. To help him sleep
soundly and noiselessly, still. Arms, pillows
sway to the metronome of the city
beating such a heroic retreat. Stand
with fingers touching, childlike and brave.
Until the next wave comes and holds. It breaks.

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