Two solitudes evenly matched keep loneliness at bay

embraced in a friendship as old as Hercules and Iolaus.

Locked in a pugilistic bout without a referee

with mutual admiration for their physiques, agility

and finely honed fighting finesse.

They touch gloves with genuine affection,

bound together like deeply rooted Redwood trees.

Despite who wins or loses they’ll remain intimately connected,

with bodies designed to fit together like a ball and socket joint.

Their young audience is reassured when they pucker up for a tender kiss.

Sitting in stillness listening for the sound of the bell

after it leaves the bell.

They come out swinging, pummeling each other

with rapid-fire punches to the side of the head,

circling around like hungry lions stalking a prey.

By the ninth round they know where to hit,

how to slip and weave to keep the peace.

It’s all in the fancy footwork.

Snorting and wheezing, breathing each other’s breath,

pounded heads dream each other’s dreams,

knowing the weak spots and the price you pay

for hitting below the belt.

Battered, bruised, purple faced, they hold each other up

in a tangled knotted clinch with bloody nose

and one eye closed each struggles for a knockout uppercut,

kidney blow or jab in the solar plexus.

One is down but not yet out waiting for the count of ten.

Maybe it’s a draw.