It puffs its chest, opens its jaws 
to hurl the studied yawn it's drawn 
to melt my spine, morph me back 
to some invertebrate design. 

Outraged I won't comply, cower 
on the carpet at my waist or thrash 
to shore, it curls its lips in a swelling curse, 
flaring venom from the tips. 

I stare at its practiced threats, 
its final fearsome bloat, 
then smile, suck a patch of air 
and slice a tunnel through its throat.
Wizened wizard of self-defense, unrelenting mirror 
of the warrior I once was, you return, punch-drunk, 
smiling to my home.  Largely unaware 
of what's around, something made you cross 
a continent to climb inside the ring with me once more. 

As I grew up and you grew old I learned a move 
the gods decreed you couldn't teach: at times it’s best 
to drop the mantis hands and leave your chin exposed. 
First to break from every clinch, you still fear 
a lethal knock-out when your son draws near. 

I hear your rhythmic shuffle on my kitchen floor, 
watch your parade of feints and self-deceptions, 
accept your jabs not as distractions to be parried 
but familiar contacts from a knight of non-stop bouts. 

I endure your constant sparring, know your punches whisper 
love, not war.  Signals you've not lost your heart, they're flashed 
at me who, excavating mine, has finally found yours too.
              THE SCENT
Streaming lavish perfume, she flows by in Nikes 
like I don't exist.  Showered by fey molecules, 
I'm tangled in a mist of swirling beauty, 
wafting tresses, easy youth and speed.  

Along the running path my footfalls crunch their 
old tattoo.  Cradled in their battered hubs, my legs 
grind ever larger sockets in my hips and knees. 

I muse on yesterdays of starting guns, cinder tracks, 
roaring crowds, and chested strings.  Eyes half-closed, 
I smile, sigh, glide awhile inside her ebbing plume.