Orlando

Can the pounding of their hearts grow louder than your gunshots?

Hearts that have beat for centuries,

hearts that waged wars quieter than your blows,

softer than the kisses,

and heavier than your guilt.

Do not speak of liberty floating free when your own blood has rusted

and lays in chunks beneath your lungs.

You cannot breathe,

and envious of the cold, damp air that children breathe –

And now sleep is a luxury, but not to everyone,

not to those who jolt awake hearing the news,

the sirens, the echo of a shattered moment.

Hold out your hand to the person, not the war,

and let everything else go.

Success, not in the things or the riches,

not in the bundles or the crates,

not in the gunshots or the waving flags,

but in the breath of happy children.

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