Here Be Dragons

Those who made the monsters told

Us the monsters were all gone;

Dead and buried but also—misunderstood.

They weren’t monsters, really.

They, the ones who made and were made

They said this while using our bones

To pick our flesh from their teeth.

 

The world bent for them and made room

For their stories. They stood on our necks

While they swore we could not reach

Because we did not wish to.

The blood from our hands–

Sliced clean by their blades–

Still dripped from their ravenous mouths.

 

We built and they destroyed. We pretended

That the monsters were behind us.

“They aren’t surrounding us with

Death and decay

And picking us off at random.”

“They aren’t stalking our children

Like fairy tale witches or haints,

Leaving breadcrumbs of progress and

Sending them to ovens.”

Even while the monsters lingered

Under our beds

And bulging at our closets

Waiting to suck our flesh

And pick our bones clean,

We pointed to those who made it out.

 

“This can be all of us,” we lied.

They hung flags like

Nooses around our necks

And spit our fallen, who they felled,

In our faces.

“Show some gratitude,” they spit,

Groping us because

All of us belongs to them.

 

Perhaps there exists a promised land

We tell ourselves, and we make ourselves

Like children

Clinging to faith

While monsters devour us in the dark.

And then the monsters

Tell the story of their heroism

Their man making

Their breaking of the savages.

In their stories

And the ones that loop back to us

They are the heroes

And we are the villains

We, the dragons, are given the darkness

And they, the heroes, are given the light.