Civil war has broken out in my body. Every heartbeat floods my arteries with strife, cells goose-stepping to the commands of a rogue organ.

I housed the army gladly, wheeling this Trojan gift into my town square, making it my focal center. I stocked it with wishes until it was pregnant with them — to a man, experts on my every strategic weakness, my every resource, my every last recess. And when I am alone, in the still times, they turn on me. They fill my streets and break my windows, tear me down and salt my earth. They have made me a prisoner of this war.

And after each skirmish, again and again this dictator is put to justice. Made to defend every action, account for every word, detail every weakness. “You arm them. You train them,” they accuse. “They are an army because you have made them one.” Promise, they say. Promise to never again invite barbarians to our gates. Promise to defend us. Promise that this will be the last.

The heart will not. The heart stands defiant. “Have I not woken you from your long complacency? Have I not put you to purpose, each of you? Have I not razed these lands that something greater may be built? Have we not built this from a sleepy hamlet to a towering metropolis? One day the invaders will join themselves to us. They will gaze on our works and lay down their swords for plowshares. You have tasked me with this. I will never promise such a thing.”

And so the body is silenced and the heart reinstated, viciously cycling again and again, until hope can be content to reside in the city I have made of myself.