John Sieber is a current undergraduate student pursuing a degree in English, Spanish, and creative writing with a minor in Classics Studies at Purdue University. He writes poetry and short stories, and he loves reading, having dinners with friends, and daydreaming. The later might be his favourite, or at least, the one he partakes in most often.


Trigger Warning

Strife is a songbird
whose trills cannot carry the
weight of its own words–
but at least it sounds pretty
when it sings.

And little by little, words build
up in our fists, into
something we can throw–
but the old elementary school
is where my sister went to die.

Polished prose is the grenade
we hurdle over the wall
we as One have built–
this United side of us
that hold different minds.

I take by my shoulder, a loaded gun,
but the Right to Bear is for
the Right side of minds–
I do not wish to end a life,
but still, the trigger, I hold it by.

By marching, we become soldiers,
in a time that I don’t believe to be real.
But, we ignored the warning signs–
our only mission now is to be
the quicker one to kill.

Bombs rain like fire,
like cats and dogs,
my teacher had once said–
but more cots grow empty,
and Emily is still dead.

Retreat to the bakery on main!
where mom would buy us
cookies, only if we were good–
now the sweetest treat is
just a few moments to catch a breath.

A battle fought, but hardly won,
A life is a debt to be paid.
But I’ve just grown so tired of this.
Oh, to be a child again.

Trudging through a Hellish heat,
Nowhere is the journey’s end. But,
somewhere in sticky mud, my ears ground me–
Can you hear the songbird sing?
Doesn’t it sound pretty when it sings?

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