Saint George

What landscape this?

aftermath of aerial carpet bombing

ten years hence

grass emerges in meager patches

dragon breathing from yonder barren mound

Ghosts are at bay

my cohort embraces the warrior if not the cause

she is war’s tempest

tempered steel drawn

from hades furnace

sword is heavy

shield slides from its weight

shrugged into position by weary shoulders

what special death lies o’er the hill?

the crocodilian, or mine?

“ten years, my friend

tracked and tracked against

never brought to knee

scarred, delimbed

strung together from spares

another day to dawn”

a moment’s pause

‘tween the breath and the inbreath

living a different life

servitude, prayer, meditation

passion of heaven

the searing light of ineffable

what fearful visage reigned down

upon supplicant flesh?

then

heretic, a lifetime lost

to cultish fantasy

strapped breastplate, plated greaves

kissed loved ones goodbye

enter the fray

this, this monster: is mine

doppleganger in reptilian flesh.

bonded for a deathful conclusion,

crippled life, or less

I have tried to find paradise

in a lover’s embrace

but the dragon lay between us

in nightmares and fever dreams

reflected in mirrored pools

and burnished steel

our mirrored lips repeat “You will be the death of me”

in this, this moment of courage

I am most alone

I grieve for my widowed bride

white dress muddied and tattered

ringless

I grieve for a different life I might have led

pious, pastoral

a moment, then gone:

O’ER THE HILL!

O’ER THE HILL!