His sense of duty long fulfilled,
he returned home to the arms
where he belonged, a half-circle finally completed.
Horrors of the past could not be wiped from his swollen red eyes,
his face wet with dismay and recognition of those sacrifices made
not for love, but for the betrayal of all love meant.
Quietly weeping, she held him close,
somehow gathering his fragments,
weaving him whole again
right before the moment came
when nothing else mattered.
On the beach, they swam in each other's currents,
suddenly undone by the initial chill,
then flooded with warmth.
There would be no other night to court
this spark, this flame snuffed out
by man's final cruelty to his own barbaric nature,
an act of cowardice cloaked in bravado.
The echo of a child's bright laughter
sailed across the deepening blue,
fading as everything slowed
to a final dream's pulse,