When it’s my turn to stand in the fire,
I will not call myself a soldier.
I will proudly say that yes, I am a girl,
yes, I am young—
I am human and you are setting me alight.

I have worn this armor all my life
and it matters not that you haven’t seen it.
I’ve worn my hair ready to fight
and I’ve been listening,
so long for the call.

I would rather be a girl than a soldier;
I would rather save one good life than
extinguish others;
I would rather the world listened to what
I wanted:
but that’s never the case,
and in the end,
when we contradict,
we all go into the fire.


Maia Brown-Jackson has been writing nonsense since the age of four and slowly grew a bit coherent; now she bleeds printer ink. Working for a time in Iraq shifted her vocational direction to international affairs; she’s currently a program analyst at the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.