by Alex Roper
Soldiers went, over the top
Dropping all around their corpses.
Horrors become routine, apparently,
And Guillotines are cleaner but fear
Of the first slice twice bright
My eyes fight to meet speakers now.
Black lines like battlelines line mine
And like land mines dust shadowed
On eyelids, blinking. I stand with shrapnel
Bursting, gut wrenching. Observers
Sweep the field like machine guns.
Silent bullets, thoughts rattle inaudibly
Behind their relentless muzzle flashing
Irises. I stand in No Man’s Land.
I am no man. Like Eowyn crying.
Entrenched Gender roles on either side
Of the field, calling, out for me to find,
My place. But my face, is defiant.
The noise of doubts are deafening
Exploding in moments of dread and
Myres of worry stall, boots sinking
In earth as cars “refuse” to start.
And I lie, lying in cold mud isolated
From old friends whose eyes
I fear with the numb certainty
Of their inevitable trajectory
Into me. It is this numb fear
That clouds my mind has me
Peering over shoulder time and
Time again. Making my mind up has,
Like a bellowing wind blown the
Stinging chemicals of emotional labour
Back to the trenches, on either side.
I see them coughing and choking,
They cover their eyes, when I
Meet theirs. Yes the heavy toxic
Clouds of stuffy uncomfortable air
Have wafted back to their imaginary
Positions taken on either side
Of a binary. So many have died
For this ground, the ground
Of No Man’s Land
In the center
And the center
Alex Roper is an emerging creative writer and academic from Hamilton Ontario but currently living in Peterborough Ontario. Alex is a Gender-Fluid individual who uses they/them pronouns and is still currently transitioning. Next year Alex will be at Trent University doing a Masters degree regarding Gender Roles in Danish society during the Viking Age. This year they will be completing their Bachelors of Education at Queen’s University and have a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Trent University. Alex’s writing includes a variety of genres; poetry, apocalyptic fiction, high fantasy and alternative history. Using writing as a way to explore their gender has been an eye opening experience for them and they are absolutely elated to read the first section of their work in progress currently titled Touched by Dawn.
See Alex perform LIVE on Monday, December 18th at 8pm with Amy Heart, Talia C. Johnson, Gwynception, and Bridget Liang at Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto, ON! See you soon Toronto!