“Not me, says the boxing writer. Sayin’, Boxing ain’t to blame,
There’s just as much danger in a football game. Sayin’,
“Fist fighting is here to stay. It’s just the old American way” — Bob Dylan
“Don’t come back, they’ll kill you for being gay”— BBC NEWS
At the sleight of my arm, each eyelid folds in bloodshot grace.
my fury, breaking jaws in disgraced light—that sends the world
crumbling. the rough collision, met by an ovoid-mobbed face.
a gay slur to my ear is a call to glove, the way I unspeak my rage
in dreadful thunder blows. we all started out as a blunder.
one more misgendering & the gingiva fits well for a punching bag.
you should beware of what precedes my fist:
I waltz in the showmanship of a deranged coyote—aiming for the jowl,
when I throw caution to the wind, kneading your flesh to its elastic point.
I wear the sad properties of Hooke’s law. the grieving lies in the aftermath
of a punch: this ceremonious un-aliving of my gender.
think of this murder as what leaves me few months shy of my grave.
l swear to you, loving a boy around here would do much worse.
I debone the cheek, rupture his ribcage in one deathblow
& stay gorgeous—dressing the breath to one brief sigh.
the unspoken rule of boxing states that: ‘a welter-weight fighter remain
answerable to an opponent-turn-ghost’. where do I draw the line between
mercy & mercy killing, if not in the way blood guts the alphabet?
a dent to the loamy soft skin. the aching red, breeding from within:
a banquet of hurt. a thoughtful felony. I slacken my fist to rid off
the mashed ligament sticking bone-close to joint, & they tighten back.
when I approach a boy, gender bear stains.
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Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & literature from the University of Benin. Author of Nature knows a little about Slave Trade (Sundress Publication, 2022). His works have been previously published/forthcoming in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, NativeSkin lit Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West, Common Wealth Writers & elsewhere. Winner of the Canadian Open Drawer contest 2020, & the International Human Right Arts Festival Award(IHRAF) New York 2021. He got an honorable mention for the 2022 Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Contest.