The Wrestlers, by Julia Duke
Intimacy hovers, poised at the point of a knife:
the artist's decision, skilful incision, will shape
the outcome of this skirmish. When a scuffle
breaks out among boys who knows
where it will end.
No easy brush strokes; each cut made with purpose.
Each thrust of the knife a new thrust
in their struggle. Each twist of the torso
a deep violation, a mute exhortation,
a tentative knowing.
Interwoven, interlocking, grasping and gasping,
panting and rasping, poised on the cusp
of success, almost basking,
then a plunging, sudden lunging,
interlinking, almost sinking.
Blood runs deep. It's thicker than water.
They grapple and tussle, inextricable tangle,
convolution of limbs, a contortion, a wrangle.
Caught up with each other in
search of a brother.
This poem was first published at London Grip New Poetry. It was also published in Conversations, (Dempsey & Windle, 2021.).
Julia Duke is a writer of poetry and creative non-fiction, inspired by the landscape and people of England, Wales and the Netherlands where she has made her home(s). She is a lover of nature and of artworks, of quirky ideas and connections of all kinds. Ekphrasis gives her the opportunity she needs to express her love of both art and storytelling. Her first poetry pamphlet Conversations was published in September 2021 by Dempsey & Windle. It takes a look at our successes and failures in the search for intimacy, including a number of ekphrastic poems to explore the theme.
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