As I prepare for battle, I can only think of him. He is my reason. He is my end. He is the air that I breathe. In my slumber I dream of a world where we can only know sweet acceptance, and where our love can escape from the shadows. Still, fight I must.
Should the battles of love be many, what is the name of the war? What is the aim?
Another battle is afoot, the soot of the recent not yet settled. A field of ebbing embers yet again to be set ablaze. The graves are still warm, and the wounded still bleed.
I am to lose this battle, yet instinct will make me fight.
When I wake, my mind braces for certain death. I bathe in hot water as I sing the hymns of memorial. The soap burns and stings my scrapes and open flesh. Thick and crimson wash down the drain. Salt from my eyes flakes away.
I step into the cold steam. My white clean towel turned shades of dark pink. My open drying skin scabs as my linen clings.
I layer my trousers, apply my top linen and work my way into uniformed articles. My musket is by the door by my broom and coat rack.
My grandfather clock chimes the count one through twelve; each tick feels worrisome. Eleventh tick and then the ominous tock.
I close my jacket further, lock my jaw, brace my heart and manage my breath.
What is the name of this war? What is the aim? What is this intricate game? Why can no one speak plainly?
Pattern allows me second nature skill. With furrowed brow I ready my cloth, quicken flip my musket and clean the barrel. I am and have been for years inured to the explosions that surround.
Chin to the wind, my father in my ready, I am steady.
Hark, there in the dark, under the Spanish maple. Eyes of blue, height that is true, he who must run me through.
I am too old for this war, yet here I am, and musket in hand.
Cold, refreshing, sharp, sudden, awakening is the metal that now runs from my navel to my back. Warm abandonment leaves me and runs the length of my trousers covering my shirt and hands.
Mid-day turns to midnight; thus I lay to sleep. This familiar defeat leaves me at his feet. I join the autumn maple’s fallen; may silence bless my exhaustion. The clock resets and the field has yet to relight its ebbing embers. Thus again I wake, bathe, and simply wait. I am fish to the bate. This endless battle is to take, only take, only take.