Prize Fighter – Martin Hopson

In my fists there are empty hands
looking for something.
Maybe it’s the collar of a shirt,
or a rugged tuft of hair,
or the back of a skull,
or a hand to hold,
Something to let me know
Things are no different than
they were before I lost you.

Regardless, they grasp and grapple,
find that devil on my shoulder.
Blood sprays in glorious arcs.
I wage my war with him
on the damp pavement.

“You look tired,” he says
through a charcoal grin – one
rearranged by my sucker punch.
My knuckles ignite his teeth like
a matchbook does sulfur.
His eyes are blank as unmarked graves
and his skin is pale limestone.
He carries no pitchfork or rifle
but knows the doubts and shadows of my heart
and that is a far more dangerous weapon.

I know if I took a saw to my legs and
tried to count the grooves
around my knees like a fallen oak,
science and reason would say that
I’m far too old for a fistfight.
Pride would say I’m far too old to run.

Martin HopsonMartin Hopson is currently a graduate student at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He is pursuing a Master’s Degree in English with a focus in creative writing.