i was a ghost of the past, less than an invisible shell of an unchosen future.
“stand with importance! keep your head up! smile!” they demanded.
they spread clay on my shoulders before whispering in stone languages sparring with self-talk of execution. the only refuge was within.
unblinking i recited their mantra, “vigilant and absolute! vigilant and absolute!”
they would turn unpeace into a harp, call it a treasured tune, then make short stories of you and me.