Courtly Love For The Battlefield


Courtly Love for the Battlefield
by Noah Wellington



eyes Petrarch-weak from battle, what were you to do when you saw him shining?

like being struck, is this not what the poets poured their blood out in ink over?

as with a spear, you are run through to the core

what an excellent knight, to kill with a glance


you are careful not to stray too close,

you let yourself toe the line of death to see his whirling strength

and bend your eye away when his head turns and his eyes hold yours.

he is no less deadly, from a distance.


fires burn where your fingers graze the inside of a captivating wrist

sparks flood between glances when they meet, and meet again

his banner is lodged between your ribs

and you are sure he senses it there.


you kiss him, and it feels like the fireside songs

you kiss him, and hear the poets sing

you kiss him, and he bolts without a glance

you kiss him, and you are left alone.


you hesitate, just as you are not supposed to in battle

slowly, you circle closer

you catch his eye, and hold it

you do not have the luxury of indifference


if what they have told you of love is true, you always expected to ache,

but when each part of you floods with fire

and waves crash through your stomach,

you call him killer once more and groan for one touch.


with the taste of copper between your teeth

you flee Hell with your world heavy in your arms,

bearing him from the battlefield

as Lot from Sodom, brimstone at your back and fire in your heart.


you are both formed and born of battles

you are ringing swords and dripping blood and clashing shields

reared in war and born to bleed

when you collide and feel peace, the feeling is foreign.


you chase each other over battlefields until they paint you side by side

and adhere to Capellanus as to God; love rarely lasts when revealed.

the home of love is every shadow-dripping corridor and fear of footsteps

you will go to ruin for this and think Troy fell for less.

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