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Impasse

I. Subjection

The smell of anger is a reek.
The recriminations that ensue could only be
Ugly. It is an ugly thing. I recoil
From the fester of your self-recriminations.

I can tell from the smell.

– No need to uncover it! It was not
A challenge; there are no
Fears to face, not even the thing that repulses you.
You’ve already established that you’re an expert
At dealing with things repellent, that your disgust is
Well-managed, whatever your
Other failings may be.

II. Compliance

I hesitate to call your silence
Obdurate. Is it?

Is it
A retreat? Or
A revolt?
A revolution? Or is it
Both? Because you can’t lose what you give up.

Could it be the Healing kind?
That makes me laugh, and I worry
If I am transformed, a sadist
In my convulsion.
Could I laugh at a whipping, be party to
An abasement?

They say men who have been administered
A proper beating on the feet
Never laugh again.
I think you might have been similarly debilitated;
I’ve seen the way your eyes shut down. First you stare,
Then you
Stare.

And I try not to. I’m afraid
It is my glance that paralyzes you.

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