Two iron-clad warriors stood in a desolate field.
One, teary-eyed and furious, would not let her vanquished country
perish; she was the last, after her none else.
The other felt selfsame pain as the end of her kin.
War had devastated their land, their people. They alone remained.
So they clashed — sword on sword, cries for the slain
echoing through unharvested, wilting grain across the grey horizon
as there were no ears to fall on.
Exemplars for their nations they had no equal until they found each other.
The clamor then was matched, blow met by blow; they knew their craft well.
But their hearts knew the awful truth — the victor is left in the new, startling world
while the fallen, defeated, mustn’t confront the future.
They fought on, always in full hatred but never in full strength
lest she strike down the only one who understood.
They longed for the touch of others
so that they may feel wanted
deeply and beyond doubt.
They sought with furnace eyes the eyes of love
and were distraught at love’s absence
forgetting fire is born from flame
and flame from coal
and coal from match.
Seeking fire they were blind to matches
and left tinder piles alone
searching for Vesuvius.
Under what moon
does the dark-haired woman
with the pixie cut
“When were you last happy?”
“There was a dream–
I reached a great crystal palace
after long journeys
and difficult trials.
Atop the stair was a chalice,
also crystal, also fine and shining;
the reward for a hero.
I ascended. Around me the mystic shadows,
the three muses who ensured my knowledge
applauded and lauded my efforts.
I took the chalice and all was light
as the women came to my side with heartfelt congratulations.
I could not but weep, so drunk with ecstasy
that words were nothing,
that motions were nothing.
That is when I was last happy.”