Poetry

I Am Not a Viking

I am not a Viking

My hands have never known violence

Or taken what wasn’t theirs to take.

They have never hefted an ax

In an arc above my head

Or brought it down on an

Enemy’s delicate skull.

I haven’t shivered in the hull

Of a long wooden ship

Eager for an unknown shore.

I am not a Spartan

I have not hardened my body

Through pain and want and meager food.

I have never held a shield

Or worn a weathered bronze helmet,

My enemies to the front of me,

My loved ones to the back.

I have not embraced austerity

As a point of honor

As the mark of a fearless soldier.

I am not a Samurai

I have never nocked an arrow to a bow

Or curled my fingers around a katana’s hilt.

I have never swallowed my fear

In the face of an invading army

As eager to kill me as I am to live

Or at least not to die in shame.

No one cowers behind me

While I stand and face danger

My body all that separates them.

I am a quiet warrior.

Awake in the early morning

Ready for the modern battle.

Ready to wrestle pennies

Into the spaces where dollars should be,

My battleground a crowded highway,

A job that never satisfies.

Giving away hours

That will only come once

The price for them never high enough.

I am a steady soldier,

Not exactly noble

But selfless enough.

If I am not careful

Boredom will flatten me down

Where poverty doesn’t,

Both enemies at the gate.

The choice is simple:

Those I love over things I want

Every day, every day, every day.

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