I’ve seen his sort,
A dumb antelope taught to dance
With arms out for the crowd,
While I grappled and grunted
At the line of scrimmage.
Walking into the lobby, I thought
I had him easy.
With his nose up and those brown eyes
Staring past unfocused, he was
Sure to be caught unaware.
But as I swung the stick from behind my back,
There was his own,
Held high in both hands
To block the strike I wasn’t
Ready to make.
Still I thought I had him.
Leaping the counter, I backed him
Into a corner
And bared my teeth to grin.
For a moment he lulled me
With hesitation- his feigned
Submission made me believe
Although a coward never moved so slowly
In lowering the stick he held.
He dropped his to lunge at mine,
I was ready this time,
Letting his leap become his fall.
I kicked and kicked
Those long stupid legs,
Wanting him down for good,
But that wide hand held my stick
As if it knew nothing else.
When he rose
It was he who had me.
A grab for his crotch
Was blocked. My teeth, in the hard skin
Of his shoulder, went unnoticed.
Another bite, so deep in fury, I was sure
I’d find the bone
Cracking like a drumstick against my tongue.
Yet he held me still, pinned
On the wall.
Only the third rang to awaken him,
And as if he had contemplated
Measure for measure,
His free fist
Hammered my face three times in kind.
One more bite broke the cage he had become,
But I wasn’t free-
I was an animal with his claws caught,
Pulled screaming in the ride,
As he ran me into counter, into wall,
Into machine and desk.
Then he turned to run on his own,
His weak legs pumping for the door,
No antelope at all,
Just a thing passive and forgiving,
Who had me but couldn’t finish me.
I escaped the sirens and light
He brought, I escaped
With the promise to return,
I’m going to kill him, but not for
The ache still inside
Or the cash I sought
Forever locked against me,
Or even this new lump which twists my nose,
I will kill him
For the safe place he ran to
Before our business was done.
A place I’ve never had.