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Casualties of War This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I walk under the umbrella to avoid the hail of
bullets hiccuped from the gaping mouth of the
weapons. It reminds me of rapid-fire
needles firing through cloth, reminding me of
distant relatives – sewing machine meet machine gun.
One creates – the other destroys. Edging
linings on pillows or spilling blood the size of peanuts –
like tourists feeding kangaroos at the zoo.
Even though kangaroos don't eat peanuts, just like
war doesn't solve problems, except maybe fertilization –
I heard that blood and gore make great food for
the hungry, the drunk, and the dead – not
dead outside but dead inside. Like warriors and generals who
don't see bodies. They see numbers. Climbing. Climbing.
Climbing as the needles fall and the bullets reign. (Or is it rain?)
That's why I carry an umbrella through the sleet and snow and
blood as it falls from the sky. I hold out my tongue to
catch them. As if that would create a memorial to
yesterday and today and everyone left behind in the
space between the lines. Salty, I decide. Like peanuts.

I set down my umbrella and hold out my arms, quickly
torn off at the shoulder from the pouring ­bullets and
raindrops, heavier by far as they hold more implication than
unimpressive pieces of metal-shaped death – but
I don't mind. I listen to the raindrops cry as they smash
into the ground, over and over and over and over. I
feel their pain in the blood soaking my blouse as the bullets
pierce my flesh and enter my heart. The metal is warm.
At least that's a comfort. It could be cold. It could be
ice pouring into my system to burn my insides up. I prefer
fire to the alternative. I prefer machine guns to sewing machines.
At least machine guns don't pretend to be something they're not.
They're death put into form. Just like every bullet that
escapes to tear flesh and bring pain. They have no
alternative – that is all they can ever be. I pity them because I have
hopes and dreams and memories and they are born only to
kill. I pity them as I fall to my knees and realize
I'm dying.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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