Acceptable Loss

I’m going to preface this by saying this is probably the angst-iest poem I have ever written. On the one hand, I like the writing. On the other hand, it seems a little pretentious when I myself have never been in a war or lost someone to it.

I am, however, trying to keep a record of my writing, good and bad, and maybe this will resonate with someone more authentically. At the very least, we’re hearing a lot of war talk in the latest election cycle here in the U.S., and I very much hope whoever wins keeps in mind the civilian populace that is bound to exist in the same places that terrorists do.

Acceptable Loss

Am I just one of millions?
Am I part of your analyzed cost?
I’m not a soldier, just cannonfodder.
I’m not a tragedy, just an acceptable loss.

I’m not a martyr, or even a name.
I’m just a pawn in your sick game.
I’m just a number, I’m not a person.
I’m just a death toll as everything worsens.
A simple factor of calculated cost.
And if I die, you say nothing’s lost
It’s all part of your proportional response.
Because I’m a part of your acceptable loss.

You say the good of the many outweighs the good of the few.
But what if that “many” didn’t include you?
What if everyone you cared for, all that you knew,
Were the cost, a sacrifice; what if you were the “few”?

Is this sacrifice no longer easy?
Does the size of those numbers finally make you queasy?
As you imagine them, every single face,
Give them your language, your religion, your race.
Don’t make them strangers, but your family and friends.
Would your acceptable loss be so acceptable then?


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