Fencing: a Poem

by Elsa Stoff


stare my opponent in the eye,
breathing heavily and wishing it was over.
voices echoe through my head
“every touch counts”
advancing tentatively, hoping
that taking the offensive would prevail
need to disengage.

she uses parry six
i circle my blade around it,
and parry six on her
disengage — twice.
i lunge but she’s smart enough to retreat
so i irrationally attempt to continue
instead, she just parry repostes, into the continuation of my lunge.

i recoil….. hit

“touch, 10, 9 to my right,”
the referee announces.

back to the on guard line recover my stature
out of breath; feel like i’m dying
yet I am still fighting.
she knows what to do.   only forty-five seconds left

do i have a chance?  or will this be the end?
raise our foils at the on guard line
pondering defense or offense
ideal secondary attacks easier said than done

“fencers ready

silver flashing; a beacon a target
attack counter parry land
touch – tied – triumphant

start again with turning point passed
one last drive of energy
fifteen seconds

in the lead and time runs its course
victorious i am


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