Fealty

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By Brenna Connell

He had dirt in his mouth
and dirt in his lungs
and dirt in every crease of his skin,
but at least it wasn’t sand
because after sixteen years he’d had more than enough
of sand.

So he tossed his blade down
and knelt before the stone-hewn thrones
and spat the blood from his mouth
so he could swear himself to a king and a queen
that were not his own,
but who were the sentinels
guarding the part of a dream
that he’d never reached
because he always woke before the end.

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