The pain of loneliness and

the excitement of adventure

face off, each convinced

of its position, mutually exclusive

of the other.

To what do I owe this honor?

A front row seat to the

fight of the century.

As blows are struck,

drops of sweat fly in my face.

Poignant reminders,

Rude, salty, definitive.

Whom do I root for?

Is that even a sensible question?

Should I hope for a draw?

I cringe with each punch;

on the edge of my seat,

stomach in knots.

I look for the referee.

I look for the time clock.

I listen for the bell.

What round is it?

Who’s calling this fight

anyway?

The room is spinning;

I can feel the pain.

I can sense the desperation of each fighter.

In a dizzying moment of clarity

I realize the referee is me.

© 1997 Steven Barto

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