Waiting for a coup de grace

It’s not incinerated heat or ash
but insincerity and ice,
when dullness of serrated
blades cut closer
to a beating heart,
than scimitars of death.

My fear is not for blood
but pus of wounds,
it’s shallow stabs of swords
it’s twists of bayonets that
leave me smallpoxed
begging in my bed
for a coup de grace.

That’s why my question
still remains unasked:
“Do you love me like
you did before?”


For Brendan’s excellent prompt on toads I wrote this without really understanding if this meets his intentions, but I hope the last stanza provided a surprise. At least I fulfilled the obligation the use of conceit I hope. This is my 19th poem for April.

April 18, 2016

19 responses to “Waiting for a coup de grace

  1. Yeah, I think you nailed it, Bjorn. We are set in the gladiator’s ring and find out in the poem’s final button that we’re talking about a bed–so much made apparent by death and divorce!

  2. ‘íncinerated’ and ‘insincerity’ – lovely close sound bond between these words that seems to provide a subtle hint of what is to come. A fascinating read.

  3. That is one question I am sure many are afraid to ask, and few can probably answer in truth, because they don’t themselves know. I think the poem is really good.

  4. Oh, wow, that is the scariest and bravest question to ask. I remember when someone asked me that and I could not answer, beyond a regretful hug…….devastating. A fantastic write. You nailed it.

  5. I’m not articulate today but I do want to add my admiration to the comments. Closing is perfect!

  6. This is awesome, B! I couldn’t possibly pick even a favorite line. Every image is stark and effective. I thought this line break was particularly clever: “Do you love me like” … I think you know she loves you. But you kinda, sorta, but not really, want to know HOW she loves you.

    Blurry-lined friendships always last a lot longer than “incinerated heat,” though. So I wouldn’t wish too hard for overheated passion … it typically fizzles out eventually.

    Oh, I changed my mind. I do have a favorite:
    “My fear is not for blood
    but pus of wounds” … You know I like the nasty stuff. 😛

  7. ‘Love is a battlefield;’ we never seem to be generals, either, only poor cannon fodder, sporting our amputations and disease–last line definitely turns the tale–and the imagery manages to be both visual and visceral, twisting the heart as well as the meanings..

  8. “shallow stabs of swords”: awesome analogy. Being in a love affair where one doesn’t know if one is loved, is the death of that relationship, by a thousand cuts.

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