Between Enemy Lines

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

No Woman’s.

My Land

In the center

And the center

Will hold.


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!