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The half-legs are classified as vermin,Author's Notes
invasive pests brought in under false pretense
and forged pet licenses, unlicenseable now --
but they are the fiercest fighters,
and people still pay to see them
dueling to the death in secret arenas.
They look much like ordinary centipedes,
except that one side is warped and stunted
while the other is full-formed and formidable.
The fierce claw near the head is venomous,
the mouthparts sharp and hungry,
the many legs quick to scuttle and cling.
Most people just capture their gladiators
from the alleys or garbage dumps or gutters
where the half-legs thrive in the cities --
but some have taken to keeping them,
trying to breed the perfect fighter,
bigger and stronger, meaner and deadlier.
The fines for fighting animals are steep,
but people still do it, as bloodthirsty as their pets,
slinking through the same dark alleys
gathering in rings to cheer quietly
for the chitinous gladiators circling the dust,
venomous claws glinting in the faint light.
This poem came from the March 2012 Muse Fusion. It was inspired by a prompt from Deirdre Murphy. It has been posted as the freebie for this session.
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