Civil Wars Are the Cruelest Kind
Too weak to concede defeat
or secede from this union,
we smile and stick to our guns
like good soldiers, shedding
blood quicker than clothes,
giving up only over our dead bodies.
We are prisoners of a war
in which no one lays down and dies,
making our points stick
like bayonettes in the enemy’s belly.
Suspecting no one who winds up
winner will be any the wiser,
we sometimes wave white flags
of flesh in rare surrenders,
spiking our cannons with liquor,
talking truce and making up
lies to soothe sore losers.
Still, stiff as sentries, we guard
our cease fires with battle lines
drawn up at severe lips.
The ground we give serves merely
to bury our dead grievances
in mournful postmortem.
But in this house divided against
itself, permanent peace seems impossible.
Negotiations over the breakfast table
only work to erect wrecked mortifications
built between us like Maginot bunkers.
Yet, we must secretly believe:
holding hands tight as tourniquets
may one day keep bleeding hearts