Exposure of the skin
Lashes at my back
I feel ashamed and
Humiliated as blood
Leaks from my wounds.

My hands are bound
By the Man’s conviction
Wet perspiration on
My quivering cheeks as
Prayer fills my mind.

They surround me
Taunting my differences
And my disgraced culture
My name is changed
And my life is taken.

But they shall never
Break my will as
Freedom will one day
Belong to the deserving
As my persecutors

Burn in their graves.


The Last Sound

The cold, metal tip of the gun pressed gently against my forehead as I held the large scar dripping with blood on my ankle. I could see the sweat rolling down between my dad’s unblinking eyes as his gun-holding hand trembled. He stared straight at my face and soon his eyes started to water. The tears that slid down his face seemed to combine with his sweat. This was the first time I had ever seen him cry. I looked to the corner of the garage and saw my mom on her knees with her hands held together. It seemed as if she was praying.

“Paul, it has to be done. You’ve seen what happens to those who get bitten by an infected.” My uncle Ray placed his hand on my father’s shoulder while avoiding eye contact with me. “Do you want me to do it?”

“No. He’s my son. If anyone has to do it,  it’ll be me.” My dad’s voice sounded shaken. He put his hand on my head and softly patted it like he use to when I was younger. “Son, you know your mother and I love you right?” He tried to hide his fear from me but it was hard to miss.

“Dad, I know.” I was afraid as well. Back before all of this had happened I thought my biggest fear would always remain as heights but I would have easily traded places with a bungee jumper at this point. I never would have thought all those video games and movies about the dead coming back to life would end up as a reality.

“Wait! There has to be another way.” My mom stood up and looked over at the three of us. “He’s sixteen. He’s only a child.” I had never seen her look so frightened before. I always had an image of my mom being a strong, calm woman but her face, in that moment, looked so fragile.

“I know how old he is Rachel! But there is no other way. You’ve seen how fast people turn when they’re bitten.” My dad began to lose his grip on the gun. Every added second of our situation seemed to break his confidence bit by bit.

“Please Paul. He’s our son.”

“What do you want me to do?” His answer came as a whisper as his eyes looked to the floor.

I could feel my heartbeat slow down a great amount as my head became light and my vision blurred. Then, the situation became terrifying. My body was becoming numb and I was losing consciousness. I did not want to become a monster and hurt my family. I realized that the fear I felt was not for my own life but the lives of those I loved. It was easy to see that my dad was struggling with what he had to do. I knew he would not be able to kill his only son so I pushed all the strength and feeling I had left into my hand. Reaching up, I grabbed the base of the gun.

“Son, what are you doing!” I pulled the gun’s tip to my forehead and pushed his trigger finger. The last sound was the gunshot.

Never Changing

Driving through scabrous deserts
Searching thoroughly on patrol
Sun’s searing rays ripple across our
Sunburned, dazed faces; it’s always the same.

I imagine lavish dinners with my
Serene and sexy wife seeking comfort
From my two courageous boys
Constantly causing chaos back home; never-changing.

Take a sip of blistering canteen water
In the silence of our sweating faces
Private Matthews hums a tune
That starts off a chain reaction; same old story.

Sun sets, taking safety with it
Paranoia and fear strike our very movement
Quietly yet quickly we ramble in our ride
To a safe destination only a few miles off; never gets old.

Silence is broken on the outskirts of base
A rocket was launched crippling our craft
Private Matthews laments in agony
As blood from his severed arm wraps my settled, stunned face; war never changes.

The jeep fell cracked and immobile
In silence of shock, only fire could reflect my terror.