I did not slay six hundred
thousand souls in fire and zeal
and ideology. I did not
wage a war I could not win
and call it courtesy. I did not
agree to separate the sinners
from the saints through smoke
and toil, for democracy and oil.
I do not have six hundred
thousand souls across the scale.
That weight belongs to other,
higher bred. I did not wage a war
I could not win—I turned my head.
The sand never clogged my lungs
or touched my face burned
with doubt and death. The sirens didn’t
jolt me awake, alert and holding
my breath. The shadows never haunted
me with promise of a spark. The powder never
dirtied me from shots fired in the dark.
I was never called to duty,
asked to don my boots and arms.
I never had to kill, be killed,
lose hope. I did not fight a war
I could not win—I did not vote.
I give permission for any person to reprint or distribute this poem in its entirity, unchanged, and bearing my name, for any reasonable purpose and with or without financial gain from said distribution or printing.