The Duel: A Poem

The morning was quiet when I woke,

As opposed to the night where I was so happy and joyous and full of fun;

The wine had flowed and it had been “date night”

And I woke with a warm smile across my face…

My wife, my love and she who holds my heart came into the room,

dark and forlorn,

Not like last night where she was so happy and joyous and full of fun…

Our “date night”;

….and I asked her why the tears were across her face…

She said to me with leaden words and through a heart that was frozen in place;

“You don’t remember—again—do you….

You never remember anymore…you aren’t you anymore…”

And an anvil fell from my heart and into my soul…

….I didn’t remember.

She said, through a face of red,

“We were having such a time, watching our show, enjoying each other…

And then out of the blue, your lips got thin again

And your teeth got clenched, like a growling animal…

And you smiled that smirk of hate…

…and you laid into me with words I cannot say”

But—I had no memory; she must be wrong!—or at least, imagining things;

After all, I’m the funny drunk, the one EVERYONE loves

I’m so happy and joyous and full of fun!

“She’s wrong…she must have been drunk too”—I lied to myself,

But…I knew I had hurt her and, worse, on purpose—with a smile.

The morning was quiet as I went to work…

As opposed to the night where I was so happy and joyous and full of fun;

The wine had flowed and tied that anvil of shame to me

And I gladly drug it through the day–

And into the afternoon–

And into the evening…

when it was time to go back home

And I couldn’t face her…

I tried to apologize,

Say “I’m sorry—it’ll never happen again” yet again as I have countlessly,

SHe looked at me and said ”I’m at the end of my rope”…

And the anvil’s rope got tighter then…

“And I can’t do this anymore”

…And then it’s rope cut me in half.

Then, I looked and saw them then,

My two loves…

One giant and clear and full of liquid love,

Full of the good times and the laughter and, the pursed lips of poison,

And, word after word of drunken, slurred bile…

And then her, the only love I need;

Full of love, and vulnerability, and life

And courage and hurt and worry and fear…

And the Anvil fell to the floor.

Whatever was left in that love for that bottle

Left my life and my home at that moment down a hole in a pipe….

Whatever is left in that love in that woman,

who shares my life, with it’s pain and its joys,

It’s need,  and whatever future it can still have…

Held my hand at that moment..

And whispered—

I Love you.

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