I think my soul might be an
abandoned war zone.
Have you seen the pictures of Hiroshima,
The negative spaces are all that’s left
of the people that used to live there,
the people that died in a flash,
the shadows where they burned.
Have you seen the satellite imaging of
the terrain near Mosul?
Trampled, burned, fallow.
purposefully destroyed the land on which they tread
so nothing good could come,
unconcernedly followed in their wake,
the flattened earth around them.
It’s a beautiful metaphor, don’t you think?
The cradle of life, devastated, with the best of intentions.
The graveyard of empires.
The places I met women who understood me,
and held me,
and gave me more than they had to give.
That classic, archetypal analogy is horrible
to live through. It’s horrible to write.
It’s narcissistic, it’s dismissive, and yet,
I still feel burned and hollowed inside.
It’s the nuclear shadow of knowing we are all stardust;
we are all ruin, we are all war, we are all death.
We are only stardust because the stars burned themselves out.
(Though if I must be balanced,
we are only beautiful because in the darkness
we can still be kind.
By Maia Brown-Jackson
Maia Brown-Jackson is a cynical idealist who tries to save people and butterflies and bumblebees. She has a degree in human rights and is currently recovering from covid-19 in D.C.