"Survivor" © Stacy Esch


We Can’t All Die

In this battle of the will
My soldiers are stoic
Or bored, half of them asleep

It’s been very quiet on the front line
The blood spilled here
Is not really spilled
So much as shoved around
Or siphoned away
And ever more easily
The bloodless, brittle backbones
Go fluttering with the slightest gust

I would of course prefer the metaphoric field
Of swords and lances, of white veils and steely
Vows, of bravely armored chests
And someone’s colorful conscience
A beacon of consistency
Midst a dark and changeling forest

They waken briefly to look around
Whose woods these are, they think they know
Infested with Hollywood heroes
Wearing greasy white face paint, orange wigs,
And a dozen rounds of ammo for their cinematic
semi-automatic killing sprees


Stacy Esch lives and works in West Chester, Pennsylvania, teaching English at West Chester University. Digital art and photography are the twin passions that compete alongside her interest in writing, reading, songwriting, and gardening. She has previously published work at Turkshead Review and wordriver literary review. She is currently selling a calendar through Spruce Alley Press.