The Rite (I/III)

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It remains immediate
like fresh abrasion –
the night yowls of rage crashed at us.
I raced the stairs to find
her retracting
as you stomped forward,
two bulls bellowing wrath at the other.

You didn’t know
I foresaw the day:
rehearsed it amidst school work,
petitioned for its extinction when I shuttered my eyes.

I imagined your response, the extreme it would incense you,
whether you would wallop me,
how many blows I might withstand.

It came
as envisioned.
The fracas swelled to a squall of fretful limbs and grotesque squawks.
I watched –
quaking at the barbarism I would commit –
and then, with blind will,
heaved my flimsy mass into your path,

and uttered,
”I won’t let you hit her.”

You shuttled your eyes
to mine –
startled by my transgression –

inquired if I mean
to strike you,
cautioned it would incur damnation.
No other words I could marshal.

”I won’t let you hit her,”
I recited the vow –

initiate in profane rite of manhood –
frightened and intrigued by the consequence –
bracing for your launch.

It never came.
You huffed your fume and withdrew.

more by JUN HUA EA

Photograph by Nicolas Fuentes

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