The Confrontation

                                                                                                                                                                       .

Cast a net of shadows

to catch the monster

swimming deep within.

There is no trophy,

just one less

creature

underneath.

Strive with the devil.

Let him drag you out

into dark waters,

far from shore

where the wind is strange

and the sky hungers.

Battle the great fish.

Know his teeth,

and feel his travail.

The burning in the arms,

the legs,

the back,

as you try not to capsize,

as you try not to

lose yourself in the war.

The flesh of the hands

cuts so easily,

wet and cold.

The strands of shadow

embedded in the skin.

The more the beast

thrashes and pulls,

the more the two of you

become inextricably entwined,

like the light and darkness

of your dim horizon.

Fade to grey,

and fog rolls in,

obscuring all but you,

and the boat,

and the demon you wrestle with.

Maybe it would just be easier

to cut the line,

or just jump in.

Knife and gaff in hand

and slay the monster,

knowing it would mean

your end as well.

Echoes off the fog,

like a voice

from the inside of your skull.

Its words sear your soul,

like embers spat out of a fire.

You strain against,

not only your quarry,

but against the very fact

of your own existence.

The thing in your head,

the thing in the sea,

they are both real

and you are trapped between them.

After what feels like days,

the line begins to slack,

and the great fish

breaches the surface.

Finally,

you behold

the immensity

of what you have been wrestling with

and for a moment,

you nearly cut line

and run.

The harpoon is in your hand.

The blood thunders

and the eyes narrow.

With an expert throw,

the steel sails home,

piercing flesh

to find the heart

of the giant.

It flails in its death throes,

churning the water

into a pink and frothy foam.

Then, silence.

Only the waves,

and the distant sounds

of seagulls.

The fog begins to lift,

and the defining line

of a one indiscernible horizon

shows you that you weren’t

so far from home after all.

Only a short distance,

that at one time

felt a gulf,

unfathomable.

A new warmth

finds its way

into your skin.

It sinks in deep,

down to the coldest parts

of your soul.

Somewhere

in a deep, inaccessible

part of your psyche,

you’re aware

that a dark thing is gone

and warm light flows in,

like the tide.

The travel back

will be difficult.

Your great prize,

threatens to break

every part of you,

but you turn the bow

towards home.

As your arms work the oars

you know

that you’ve survived

a cosmic moment,

the great confrontation

of living and destruction.

   

   

HG – 2022

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