I was always troubled
– if that’s the right word –
to learn that you saw me as a warrior
before my war came.
I was taught a coat of arms could sustain me in winter.
You swore by our last name, Guerra,
and I swore by flight.
Did you know the child you named “manly” would
teach me to fear rather than to win?
What is winning if both defeat and conquer
together hang, musky, around my bedroom after?
Did you ever learn exactly why the capillaries burst only around our eyes?
You couldn’t possibly think my blood came to fight as well.


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