Poem: ‘The Protege’

I met Ares in the form

of a bloody nose and scraped knees

On the playground of my first fist fight.

8 years young, scrappy and scrawny,

With a mouth that ran faster

Than my high top shoes could take me

A looming shadow on a cloudy day,

He breathed fire in my lungs

And pumped iron in my blood. 

He cursed me with blind light,

blurred lines and a fist fight, 

And between my teeth I can no longer taste

the difference between blood and bullets. 

Now they lie in a plain white cage

Locked to keep him in, that burning red rage

I know now without a doubt

I was cursed innocent and tossed about,

8 years young, scrappy and scrawny

Raised to behave but always accused wrongly.

The things I’ve learned from my time down here:

Ares demands to be felt

There’s no place for fear.