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soldier, poet, king (after the song by the oh hellos)

by Jillian Thomas

i. soldier 

i let my enemies decimate me and 

leave my skin on the battlefield for wild animals to devour: 

maybe they will have a use for my ribs- forever pressed against my suffocating skin. 

but sometimes i am a soldier, launching missiles into opposing camps and making them pry my last breath from my eternally fighting lungs and i report to the general nestled in my head- one wrong move and a landmine detonates beneath my feet and i am thrown to the wolves 

ii. poet 

at my very core, i am a poet, and i believe this wholeheartedly. how could i not be, with unnamed emotions crawling under my skin, begging to be penned and immortalized? 

i would not refer to myself as a poet anywhere outside my bedroom until i was officially published but now when novices ask for advice i always tell them that writing a poem makes you a poet 

how brave it is to try and make sense of your deepest fears.


iii. king 

i am a king of many things, but can never be appointed 

the ruler of my own thoughts, no, they are controlled by someone else someone who plays russian roulette for fun and drinks whiskey to excess but i am the king of manipulation- of caramelizing the kicking monsters that deform my neurons with their breath until they are pacified and i have at least the illusion of control. 


Jillian is a 17 year old poet from Pennsylvania who writes about outer space and mental health, among other things. In her free time, she listens to music, skis, plays chess, runs a literary magazine, and naps with her cat.


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