Gabrielle Calvocoressi


Boxers in the Key of M

As in Marvelous and Macho as in Leon’s
younger brother Michael, a name I learned

in Catholic school. Saint Michael of the mat,
of the left hook and the deafening blow,

of teeth glistening as they made their arc
to the laps of women sitting ringside.

You don’t like to see a man get knocked out
cold? Then you’ve never lived in Hartford

or any town of boarded windows. Have you
ever gotten hit or thrown against a wall?

There’s a sweetness to it, that moment when
your God would forgive you anything. One

punch free as yesterday’s papers. Marvelous
the way his body moved on the TV

screen. And me? I moved around the room,
bobbed and weaved. I learned to hold my breath

so I could fight with my head held under water.