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
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.