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Taking the Field

Looking in you, I'm shown a skin of ice
Over a mask of rage--the eyes which waver
Between those of a killer and a lover,
A conquerer vanquished from within.

In these moments, our gazes
Scrape across one another's flesh
To lock in a silent battle of wills, and I am torn
Between administering a coup de grace or a kiss.

Water meets earth in a clash
Of unsounded fury and futility
Old as waves hammering a coastline, longing
For a union gentle as rain upon a field.

I parry and back away from the razor coils
Of the no-man's-land that hangs between us,
Wearied and confused by the challenges launched
From the shadowed greenery of your eyes.

You fare no better, though I've stayed my hand.
You jig and jitter on an electrified boundary of your own devising
Fingers woven into the stinging wire... refusing to turn away
Lest I slip beyond your reach.

I shall not go. I cannot go.
For in that sneak-thief moment of first contact
Your eyes cast hooks upon my soul;
To free it would prove a greater pang than its capture.

So I will continue to take the field
Whenever your gaze compels me, knowning
That we fight each other never so much as we
Fight ourselves.

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