For Survival

Artwork by Stefan Koidl

This world, is no longer for the living, while I perch

Over the dead, about to send another, into the black,

But the gun tremors in my pale hand, frozen in my glance

As my mind replays memories, that have lost its vibrance,

For they, are of a distant time, an unrecognizable landscape,

Where bones, don’t crack under my wandering steps

Like twigs, that echoe, in a densely fogged forest,

A graveyard, that rattles the chaos, of my solitude

Being stalked by an army of hollow abominations,

To which I’ve been evading, fleeting, their blinding ferocity,

Hunting for life, I scoured through the muddy desert

Only to reemrge, inside the domain of the hungry horde

Salivating, at the distinct stench, of my hurried pulse

As I widely stared at the tidal wave, hastily approaching,

A flutter of a memory, flashed across, the dooming onslaught

Where I had cloaked my breathing, in a choking silence,

Only there was no more room to hide, for survival, I killed,

Forcing raging bullet, after bullet, into endless vacancy

Crushing the lingering light, entombed, into their after,

Except for one, struggling to escape the claws, of an old bear trap,

That’s how I sighted him, my trail mate, for a brief moment

Until, I hovered over him, in this caged nightmare

With the gun, still stammering, in the biting stillness,

Standing there, fighting off the flooding of memories, to no avail

As the genesis of the collapse, barged in, shackled my mind

To a muffled cognizance, as it magnified in my trance,

Shoved back, into a hysteric argument, with my kid brother

A city under arrest, witnessed from the height of our window

While the shrieking in the background, distracted our focus,

The world, was folding in on itself, as panic, fuled the turmoil,

Struggling, we continued our debate, our next move, for survival,

Which was our pledge, we drudged through, the flooding darkness

That had crept, at our heels, forcing us into the undertow,

We overcame the sinister anchor, there since our abandonment,

But what hatched from the darkest depths, was far more bleak

With the radiating sun, blaring down upon the exposed,

Transforming all those, vulnerable, to the sun’s intrusion

And dispatched, from their solemn routine

Into a crazed, ravenous shell, hunting down the impervious,

The sun’s bewildering metamorphose, punctured, our barrier,

Leaving the immune, at the mercy of these hellions

As they thrashed, at our gates, prying the metal apart,

Letting in the rush of the stampede, overtaking the realm,

Their tumbling chaoss, echoed, through the narrow emptiness

Coming up the stairwell, as everything else, was stifled,

Forced into a corner, with the funneled horror, about to breach,

By the pounding, at the barricaded splintering entryway,

Left with no option, we absconded, down the fire escape

To the alleyway, amongst an expanded turbulence,

Plagued, throughout the stripped city, a disturbing battleground,

Frightened, in the daunting midst, of a world gone insane,

We wrestled our way, dodging countless feral slaughters,

One after another, chasing, after our frantic flee,

Becoming a worse terror, when the horde forced us, to separate,

I lost him, in the howling crowd, swallowed in the distance

As I found my way, to the safety of the city’s edge,

Without sight of him, staying hopeful, for his survival,

But there it was, etched into his pale wrist, “For Survival”,

As the flooding returns, further, than I have been in awhile,

Finding myself, watching through the window, the lively neighborhood,

Then noticing myself, in the close reflection,

Young, and totally unaware, of the forthcoming dread

Despite all the chatter around us, and the subtle panic,

There was nothing, my brother and I couldn’t devour,

For survival, we defied the suppressive hands, of our foster family,

Ran away, reaching Olympus, only we didn’t belong amongst this crowd,

Two teens, in a chaotic city, hands out, for loose change and scraps,

For survival, we found odd jobs, taking us away, from the corner,

Stability, eventually embraced us, as we basked in it, surviving,

A repetitive daydream, but appreciative of our struggles,

So much so, that my brother got a permanent brand,

A small, black lettering tattoo, on his wrist, “For Survival”,

I suggested we get a drink, to celebrate, his fresh ink

As we walked to the bar, he stared through the plastic covering,

I gave him a slight nudge, and expressed

“I wouldn’t have overcome so much without you by my side. “

He smiled, nudged me back, saying, “And I without you brother.”

As we walked amongst ourselves, forgetting the rest,

Now after these eternal, winter months, that had weakened the carnage,

My search ended, towering over what was left, of my kid brother,

A monster of the sun, drowning, in the cold dim light,

Now in the darkest of moments, after endless searching,

With tears, building in my throat, I try to steady my hand

As I tightly grip my eyes, and squeeze, the heavy trigger,

Breaking the silence, followed by the squawks of scavengers,

Leaving me, to my memories, for survival.