Happiness Is Spelled With Leaves Of Gold

by candleships

The children are happy behind the fence, you know.

This is all you’ve ever been told.

You see them run past, sometimes;

your face pressed to the wooden slats,

eyelid peeled back inside the crack —

sight reaching out to meet their running forms.

 

They will always know peace, you know.

While war has always torn your ground apart,

their side will never run dry of fleshy fruit

or the ripened ribs of those creatures they farm.

 

Knowing this, you look around your side.

 

There are no children playing here;

they sit listless in the dust, ground down by the countless

sticks and stones thrown over the fence in playful ignorance of whom they’ll hit.

If they hit you they’ll ruin you, you know.

This is all you’ve ever been told.

 

And still you watch:

the splinters in your cheeks of years and years of breathless watching

though the crack have made you bitter — the wooden shards have hardened you,

yet still you watch, wide-eyed in disbelief and longing.

 

Happiness has gone extinct on this side,

and happiness is spelled with leaves of gold on theirs.

 

Everything they stole from you was branded

with the gilded promise of a wish:

for bluer skies and cleaner air and food to eat.

 

And yet — and yet!

You hear the children cry.

 

The grass is always green for them and all you have is dust,

and still they whimper at their feast.

 

The children are happy on the other side, and so

they will never see your sallow eyes shrivel in this heat.

 

Their happiness is built on never seeing how they’ve come to rest their heads

on these stolen leaves of luscious gold.

 

That —

that

is how they di(n)e in peace.

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