I dig my claws into you,
so as not to really touch you;
a fearful tactic of avoidance,
keeping your skin at nail’s distance
and still your poison seeps into my system,
the mustard gas choking my lungs.
I cringe at the panic rising in me,
the grenade strapped to my chest,
the sharp ticking accelerating.
Your eyes flicker with a seriousness
I thought you didn’t possess
and I’m left exposed in no man’s land,
the clear blue blade penetrating my defences.
I can withstand it, the detonation inevitable;
the ebullition of a word I cannot admit –
those four letters a suicide bomb.
Previously published in the Boundless 2019 Anthology.