how do you make the world good?

she asked rhetorically, with a hint of cynicism
after all, she had seen her fair share of badness
death and decaying hope
overwhelming sorrow drenched her sheets
until she rung them out with her frail hands

squeezing droplets
cementing in her consciousness
never to let the world drop her flat on her back again

this time, I’ll fight back

she promised herself and the world around her
including those she loved
until they became her enemy just like the rest

hurt for hurt became
hate for hate

intimidation for intimidation became
kill or be killed

fear folded over into fear
until it covered and suffocated and blocked out all the light

How do I make myself good?

the question barely reached her for the force
she spent pushing it aside
violently destroying herself inside

battered and numbed over
forgetting the soft, rounded edges of hope
not daring to let it show
for the pain it ensued

then a voice, a face, taking the shape of a child
spoken in some other tongue

some language spoken gently to her former self
before she left civilian life to fight

vaguely making out a few words
she heard whispers of long-ago victory

of something resembling peace,

no– defining it

maybe even love

yes, definitely love

as she grasped those words with a strength from outside of her
she consumed them, starving

it was that or death, she decided

then slowly, slowly

those words began to become her reality

how do you make the world good?

believe that beneath all of this,
it is.