Once upon a time, I had a dream
I was bathed in lights and flowers
like a woodland fairy queen
It seemed so simple all those years ago
Little did I know
I used to think that glory came for free –
if I worked hard and stayed strong,
I could achieve my victory
I thought faith held true and the world was kind
but it was a lie
Step, step, feet bound
Marching to the Coliseum in a colorless parade
Step, step, cold ground
A million eyes upon us as we take our walk of shame
Keep your head down and look away
They don’t want you here anyway
Little girl, why don’t you smile?
You should be grateful they let you in
Glass vials, denial
so we bear the weight of our nation’s sins
Stripped of our names, drowning in bleach
You held salvation just out of reach
You fire at vultures, but all you caught were doves
Small and white, flying free,
then falling from above
All men are created equal
All people bleed the same
but to maintain the balance,
some must take the blame
We were not accused, for no reasons were given,
but one man is guilty, so we all were imprisoned
Judas was a traitor, so twelve apostles hang
Were your thirty pieces worth the price?
White flags of surrender, I waited forever
to stand alone on your jagged ice
Esteemed sir, I ask but a moment,
for I’ve played your game every day
Why do you grant the world such happiness,
only to steal it away?
I kneel before you and beg forgiveness,
but I don’t know what for
How do you decide who is welcome at the feast,
who is worthy of this right –
do you think yourself the Lord?
I do not judge you, but I cannot understand
I’ve done nothing wrong but dream
So why did you take my moment from my hands
if you know I am clean?
This poem is dedicated to the “Olympic Athletes from Russia” at the 2018 Olympic Games. They were proclaimed innocent but still subjected to humiliation as a result of a state-sponsored doping program that had nothing to do with them. My inspiration came from Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, who won gold and silver medals in ladies’ figure skating that year at just 15 and 17 years old. They were burdened with a whole nation’s expectations and shame, but they came back victorious.