One Word

What would you do

If I asked you to stop saying

Just one word?



Would you look at me and laugh?

Would you spit the word at me?

Or maybe you’d say that old adage

About sticks and stones.


What is I said that this word

Just this one

Or maybe a few

Out of our vast vocabulary



Would you spit again?

Would you tell me I’m weak?

Would you tell me words

Are just words?



Would you ignore how words build vast empires

And in the same breath, blow them down?

Would you ignore how words create as much

As they destroy?


Would you ignore my pain

My heart

My life

For one word?


Words are fickle.

Words are many

But if you ask to remove one

Suddenly their world is undone.


That word becomes a movement

It becomes a sentiment

It changes and shifts

As the meaning apparently does


Fortresses are built around this

One word

Defenses erected

Motes filled and trenches dug


But me?

I’m left bare




While you defend that one word

With your whole being

You ignore the fact that you’ve left me



That one word becomes more

More important

Than me

For one word?


You’d rather protect that word

An idea

A breath

Than me.


That word suddenly gets a pedestal

And golden laurels

While I get rags

And your venom


But, you didn’t mean it that way

It’s just one word


If so…


Then why are you defending?

In this world of words

Where empires gather and fall around them

Why that one?


Love. You’d not defend

Friendship, as clearly shown.

Kindness? You left it outside

Your erected and chained gates.

Along with me

Is it worth it?

For just

One word?


In return

I offer one more word

Another word, loaded with power

If words mean more than me


Mean more than who I am

Who we are

What we’ve done

Where we’ve been


Then I offer you one more word

A word that destroys lives

Just as the one you defend




Author: Lucian Clark

Lucian Clark was born and raised in South New Jersey. Recently they published their first novel, a dark romance, titled Cemetery Drive. Their works have been featured across numerous platforms such as The Advocate and in anthologies like Werewolves Versus and Postcards From The Void. They've also been featured on several podcasts to talk about horror, activism, and their writing. With a passion for all things spooky, horrific, and queer, Lucian can often be found on social media talking about werewolves, rats, and My Chemical Romance. When not actively writing or reading, Lucian is also the curator of the queer horror website, GenderTerror, which features original art, stories, interview and more. They can also be found playing video games or with their pets (currently some rats and a cat). They are active in local and national social activism with a focus on LGBTQ+ rights and reproductive justice.

One thought on “One Word”

  1. People seem to forget that language is what separates us from (most, since some other primates can sign to us) other species; that is can literally mean life or death and, if it has the ability to inspire, how exactly can it not, on the other side of the coin, lead to ruin?

    Good stuff!


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