Tuesday, 18 May 2021

One Poem by Kathleen Chamberlin


Sweat soaked shirt clinging to her back,

Struggling against the tangled brambles

That slashed her thighs and arms,

Thrusting each limb through thick

Green leathery blankets of pain

She burst into the amphitheater

Bleeding, battered and broken,

Breath coming in gulping gasps.

Turning in bewilderment

Tear-streaked face searching, searching,

Scanning the frozen faces

Seeking the comforting eyes

For whom she had sacrificed all:

All dignity,

All pride,

All semblance of peace.

All for the alluring smile

The pulse racing gaze

His tongue on her skin

Breathing in the erotic pleasure

Of his body against hers.

Still breathing heavily,

She hoisted her staff above her head

Challenging any to deny her.

"I come in victory over all other claimants"

Still circling, searching, seeking

Sweat slowly evaporating from her face

Stopping before the sullen, silver-haired matron

Heart sinking she asked

 I have done all you demanded. Where is he?"

Blue-gray eyes peered calmly, 

Without pity or hesitation

"Gone "

Knees buckling beneath her,

Kneeling in desperate supplication

Arms drooping to her side

Tired eyes pleading,

The matron, motionless in the oppressive air.

"Where?" her quivering voice entreating. "Where has he gone?"

With a quick dismissive gesture, long fingertips dancing in the air

Indicating no direction, merely a dismissal, 

The matron answered, "Away."

Agony burst from her chest,

A long anguished cry.

She tore at her hair and clothes,

Staggering slowly to her feet

Raising her staff once more above her head

Howling desperately against reality

"When?" she demanded "When? When did he leave?"

A derisive laugh, contemptuous and triumphant, mocked her.

"Does it truly matter? I told him to go and he went.

The matronly smile broadened as she spoke these words,

Spat them with spiteful scorn

Savoring her victory.

Tearing herself away from the cold blue grey eyes,

Twisting in a torment,

She raised her eyes to the heavens once, nodding.

“So be it,” some thought they heard her say.

Turning toward the blue eyed matron, smirking at her .

With hatred guiding her arm,

She thrust her staff deep, deep, deeper,

Into the matronly chest

Feeling the stunned breath expelled

Strangled sounds, spittle and shock

Watching the blue eyes dim, flicker and fade.

 Red rivulets coursed down her wrist, across her breast,

A crescendo of rage sated, defeated,

She dropped to the earth and wept.

Kathleen Chamberlin is a retired educator living in Albany, New York with her husband and two rescue dogs.


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