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The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, Mel and Janice are the property of RenPic.
The following contains coarse language, lesbian sex, alcohol, violence, and blank verse. If you find any of these distasteful, please seek out safer ground.

by Lela Kaunitz

The Calm Before
The Storm
When I first saw you,
you were danger.
Blue eyes like the calm
before a summer storm.

You fluttered
nervous parakeet
at the gun in your face
but backing down
was not your mother tongue.

"Melinda Pappas, Mel for short."

Your mouth made a line
and I turned away
to hide my surrender.

But when the warrior unfurled
in your long frame,
I stood transfixed.

Who was I?
Useless tag-along,
And you a descendant of Xena.

Your soul called to me
And I was too stupid -
Lovesick, maybe -
to leave.

The word made flesh
in you. Xena.
The Scrolls be damned.

The Roar of Armies I dream of war

Not the chatter of gunfire
But the roar of armies.

The spear flung from my outstretched hand
Strikes dirt.

The arrow he fired
Strikes home.

Still, it was a good day's fighting.

Scribe There's ink on my fingers.
My eyes ache.
Translatin' ancient writin's
Hard work.

Gods, plural Dreams again.
Lying with her
by firelight.

So real I can smell it.

Her hair, her sweat, her skin.
Her arms.
Her strength.
The length of her body.
Her thighs, her hands, her mouth.

Gods, plural -
You fuck like a heathen, Gabrielle.

I'm awake and sweating,
Twisting in sodden sheets.
Where's Mel?
I want to peel her skin off
And swallow her whole.

Iced Tea and Civilization Iced tea and civilization.

I keep expecting
She'll shed her skin,
Vengeance incarnate.
The South has its secrets,
after all.

"I'm havin' all sorts of dreams,"
she confesses, blushing.
"Like Xena's still inside of me."

I melt at the thought.

Easy Drinking is easy.
Before I know it,
half the bottle gone.
Translation smooth as scotch,
My chickenscratch scrawl
on the page,

The words make sense
In this alcohol blur.
"Been on the nutbread again?"
Bard brat.
Why seek the past?
It's here in my head.

Dancing at Crete "You have to tell her."
Gabrielle is reasonable.
I'm not.
Bull stubborn.

I'm not going to your bed, Mel Pappas.
You don't own me.
If my bones melt,
if my heart burns,
I'll call it coincidence
And believe it.

Archaeologist as Adventurer Fist fight,
Archaeologist as adventurer,
dead drunk.
He's twice my size.
Right hook, glass jaw.

Role Reversal Fainting's
Embarrassing enough
But I don't want to hear
Mel carried me home.
She's strong, that girl.
Not such a stretch
To Warrior Princess.

The Best Fight
I Never Won
So I woke in her bed.
Better ways to stain sheets
Than blood and vomit.

I'm ugly.
What a pounding I took.
I won't chew for weeks.

She's gentle
With bandages and iodine
Her touch lingering
Past innocence.

I can't close my mouth for the swelling
How can I kiss her?

"Lie back and sleep,"
she murmurs
smoothing back my hair.
Florence Nightingale with her own glow.

She kisses my forehead.
My mouth urges more.
Leaning in
Our lips touch -


I fall back
on red alert.

The kiss can wait.
Her eyes are a promise.

Dec 30, 1998

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