Something sinister hides inside me.

It whispers truth wrapped in lies,

Robs me of my peace.

I don’t know where to turn to

Find what I have left to give.

Change cheers, chokes, and yet, it calls.


The fortress built around my heart calms,

Surrounded on all sides by my own little army.

But inside my heart hears the truth- time to forgive

These walls bring silence and false safety, I realize,

Walls built and reinforced over twenty-two

years must be knocked down in order to find true peace.


Pain, heartache, mistakes, disappointment- walls made of every piece

burn red hot as the flames are stoked. One touch scalds.

Not just me but others too.

They come too close and bump up against a scarlet memory.

Hurt bubbles up, a harsh word flies

And now I’m not the only one who must forgive.


On and on it goes, I have nothing left to give.

All I really want is a little piece of peace

But I keep trusting all these lies-

That silence behind the wall calms as it calls.

I slink inside and again, it’s just me.

What have I gotten myself into?


There’s no one left to turn to,

Alone if I don’t forgive.

But again change beckons me,

Cries out to me to choose true peace

I hear the calls,

But they’re muffled by all the lies.


I’ve listened to wrong voices for longer than I realize.

Change knows what needs done to

Find that peace that calms.

Change whispers forgive,

It offers peace

To me.


Again my fortress calls me,

Promises a parody of peace.

They’re all lies meant to trap; I need only forgive.


Kristi Stokes is a non-traditional honors English student entering her senior year. She lives in Hershey with her husband and four children. More of her work can be seen in TheBurg, Moms Always Write, Fission, and From the Fallout Shelter.