by Colleen Aycock, Ph.D.
I never saw a drop fall on the canvas,
But I saw his fearlessness day to day.
I saw him love someone so much that he cried,
And I heard his agony in a primal moan
That could never be answered.
My faculties gnashed at the pain,
Opening up a flood of ruby
That I could taste,
Like a straight-line hammer to the face.
I never feared his punch
For I was on the inside of a memory,
One that was now only shadow boxing.
At an early age I was taught
There was no faintness of heart,
In the noble art of self-defense--
The quick step, the cautious eye, the surprise jab.
"Get mean!" he growled…
"Give it more than you ever imagined you could,
Draw from the fire deep inside.
You may need it some day."
So I popped left and right into his firm, cupped hands,
And we measured my skinny biceps, keeping records
Like non-sporting families mark heights on walls.
Oh, how I wish I could have seen him in his prime,
Before the scars had reached the flame,
So that I may have been able to dodge the last, raw pain.