They Struggle in Flames

You close in on the ring of fire
where two bodies are firmly locked,
bound to each other, muscles rippling,
each gripped like a vice on the other

A crowd swarms around them,
gleefully cheering as if nothing is wrong,
their voices echoing vacantly
against the bare flesh of the combatants.

You’re horrified, disgusted, incensed.
How could so many witnesses
to such a grand and hedonistic degree
seek only their own satisfaction?

Your hands lift to break up the fight,
struggling to push away the licks of fire
as they lap like large tongues at you,
threatening to engulf at any minute.

Human lives are at stake though.
You wonder if you have the fortitude,
the sheer force of will required
to pierce the fire’s crimson tendrils.

The thrashing of the hellish waves
is distracting, entrancing, and ludicrous.
Yet you, apparently alone in your concern,
stare indignantly into it, taking a breath.

The central figures are screaming.
They push and pull and squirm
in each other’s grips, thrashing about
like horrific madmen in heat.

They wear each other like straitjackets,
circling and circling, tightly stuck together
and you marvel at the sight of it,
not knowing how long they have.

At long last, you notice it, in awe.
They are not pushing. They never were.
They were only ever pulling,
their fingers inhumanly tight.

Each tries desperately to leap
into the horrible blaze around them,
ready to end it all in a hot mess,
their eyes pained with despair.

Yet each is unable to, disallowed
by the tough love of the other.
Even as they rip and tear at each other,
they beg each other to live through it.

More resolved than ever to stop the fire,
you start gathering up the cheering crowd.
You find, much to your pleasant surprise,
that not a single soul is unwilling to help.

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