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Love's Last Battlefield

Natalie Frank, Ph.D. enjoys creating free verse poems, along with other types of creative and non-fiction writing.

Love of brother dies cruel death

And flies on wings of hopelessness

I see him down a block straight on

Pulls wagon blue with shuffling step

Prepared my lips to utter, “No”

For surely asking, will he heed?

My eyes avert when still far off.

Preparing to pass quickly by

Apology on readied lips

“No, not today,” but sorry said

An act no more a moment fills

And still he comes straight on and true

But doesn’t target there as some

With focused eye a readied stare

Intent on wringing from my waist

or pocket, purse, computer bag

Wherever coins or bills be found

Yes, bills, so often asked or begged

Insistence shown in measured steps

Behind, besides, to follow near

Intimidation's clear demand

To wait until I wilt and give that

Which I never did intend

A hardened heart once ripe with praise

And generosity to live

A beast held back, not recognized

Such things unknown when life and love

Support a girl to woman grown

But now alone to hurt and nurse

Old injuries and love lost, gone

Not family, or friend or spouse

To hold a hand or wipe a tear

A complicated history

When barrenness has planted deep

Within a bracing wind sheared day.

And still he comes mouth opened, slack

Though yet not near I hear the want

To spare a coin or two or more

An opened door to more demands

I steel myself to pass him by

Today my eyes will stay ahead

To toss hello, good morning, no

I’m sorry but I can’t today

Then go away and soon forget

A man, a person, human need

How soon before we share a street?

Would others treat me thus and how

Would then I think of charity?

Close enough so now I see

His street worn shoes toes given free

To feel the chill and now he smiles

I cannot help but look to him

The beauty beams from love’s bright soul

But strike a bargain still I form

to smile yet hold that which is mine

Smile reasonably and nicely yet

and closely kept my purse sealed tight

and pockets, bagged computer zipped

to keep my spoils from greedy hands

But why I fight so that which comes

Communicates acceptance, care

Compassion rendered, offered to

A self content to utter “no”

From wearied lips to issue thus

Instead of smiling forth to send

A love in kind and not pretend

But honestly connect to him

who comes to teach humility

Mere steps to separate us now

He reaches down and makes me jump

And startle fearing what he seeks

For streets are mean with desperate men

Who do what needs their motive calls

Moving faster giving breadth

to space us out till safety felt

And trembling fades from limb and chill

Seeps finally fear letting go

Tensed arms and legs and muscles all

To strain and stress a body so

And now he starts to raise his head

As if slow motion guides his hand

To pluck from there and lo behold

No knife or gun or weapon shows

Instead a flower held to me

Though filled with miser’s misery

But seem he sees not my true self

Perhaps not true but hope withheld

Not rose but just a wild one shorn

More beautiful than any seen

before or now or future sure

For pure of heart his love does sing

Embracing other’s circumstance

His love of strangers everyone

Encompassing our given call

To love each other true and full

with helping hand so never fall

Or fail to offer justly this

A smile a flower, coin or bread

and not ignore what’s needed, shared

It’s complicated there within

Emotion mixed with shame filled flaws

Dismissals weight bears heavy loss

Humanity dies in the breast

The battlefield of mind does swell

With heartlessness war’s last demise

The flower, wilted somewhat though

Paints hope upon my mantelpiece

More beautiful no rose did grow

For love was in the one who gave

And not the form of gift bestowed

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