It took me forty thousand punches to realise

forty thousand too many

sure, I landed a few, enough to take me to this ring

but he is quick as light and made of iron and his punches

his punches come, again, and again and again


the fists of my father, my mother, my schoolmates, of God himself

the glancing blows, the blows of the children I saw for an hour

last Christmas eve


I am winded from two body shots unseen

I disguise it

but he knows, I look in his eyes, he knows

he comes for me and though the ring is an infinite thing

I can find no place to hide


then, an opening, a tunnel for my right hand and

I watch my fist blur toward him and

feel the contact rock the columns of his temple and

he is dazed and he is mine and his eyes look through me

and I call upon that old right hand one last time

the hand that signed my title deeds, my wedding certificate

my divorce papers

the hand that held my babies, that held your face before that first kiss

my sledgehammer, my bomb

but, it is so heavy now

and the fuse won’t light, and then, I know


two seconds pass

two seconds that will stretch over all my days

two seconds when it was all there, another world

two seconds when I betray myself, as I always do


and so, I wait, with nothing left

to get what I deserve and when he comes

I do not run, and I am baptised in a flood of fists


I fall through the roar of the crowd and am caught

by the blanket of childhood

the lights above are so bright, and so pure, and just beyond my reach


I lie on my back and watch dozens of moths

in frenzied compulsion

flying head first into the lights again

and again, and again



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