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Duel to the Death


02.12.20 Posted in today's words by

Ruth Gooley’s most recent poem to appear here was “Meal Time at the Pier” (December 2019).

Duel to the Death
By Ruth Gooley

It’s between me and the mockingbird,
drilling into the pungent flesh of the eucalyptus
outside the open bedroom window while I nap,
the sharpness of his whistle,
the cut that shrills in my ears,
blocks my dreams.

I rise with a grunt, a modest curse,
thrust, parry with a series of cries until I’m dizzy.
Whistles advance from the beast.
En garde! I rock back,
lance a screech. The bird’s squeal
pierces my ears like a blade.

Touché. I falter,
my voice felled
into a whisper.
Faint, I fall
back into bed.

Outmatched,
prostrate on the covers,
I raise an arm,
salute him,
my better.



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