In This Place, You Hold Me

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From The Games Men Play series

For John J. Roque

On the field of battle, your gaze meets mine
As unerring as your arm
The ball spirals from your sure hands
An arrow in flight
Sending daggers to my heart
I strain for it
But your army brings me down
Crushing me
Ravaging my body
Burying me alive
My mind – jostled, aching – longs to flee the confines of bone and plastic
My lungs sear
I cannot breathe
Yet I rise
Play on
This is what I do
This is who I am
This is all I have to give
When the contest ends, we meet at mid-field
Stripped of our armor
The victor and the vanquished
Our eyes lock again
You smell of heat and cold at once
In the night chill, your breath plumes
And on it, ride words of bland grace
That come so easily to winners
I clasp your sculpted shoulder in brotherhood
And perhaps something more
Your hand rests lightly on my coiled waist
A gesture of possession
And I feel the electric thrill I am forbidden to know
In this moment, you see me
On this field, you have me
In this place, you hold me
Now but not forever.
Not forever.


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