Code

Stare into a barcode
For the rest of your life
And watch it cancer
Across everything you know.

Stare into the spaces
Of tree-pulp white
Ironed flat
By the stark black lines.

Stare into the lines
Rigid tar rows
Like men at attention
Silhouettes of an army.

Stare into the army
Watch men quiver under suits
Stained and crusted
With veterans’ blood.

Stare into the blood
Streaked across foreign sand
Leaking from a Private
With death-glazed eyes.

Stare into the eyes
Youth in absentia
Imprisoned by the idea
Of mass-bestowed valour.

Stare into a barcode
For the rest of your life
And watch it cataract
Across the dreams you once knew.

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