You have been boxing when I made grilled cheese.
You have been boxing with hissing over reruns on TV.
You have been boxing until late and chewy microwave dinner.
You have studied the greats on old film now uploaded
to obscure websites on the internet with porn ads in the margins.
Days and days you box with your eyes closed, with your lips shellacked.
You study with your mouth open, your limbs loose.
You arrive like an experienced trespasser, like you belong
beyond the ropes, announcers growling your given name.
Fluorescents are blinding like pollen.
Girls in skimpy tops, sweatless and radiant,
rally you, glitter shining from their belly-buttons.
You win with the opponent as your shadow, trembling.
Trembling, I ease your small face cuts. Vaseline did its work.
Your knees feel good. They haven’t felt this good.
You feel dazed with your blood still pumping your muscles back and forth.
You drink half a pint of milk first, but then you order
one large fry, onion rings, one burger, one chicken sandwich, and a Coke.
This is the start of some change in our pockets.
On the highway I keep the radio off so you can hiss and tell
the fight from the inside, so I can hear your Coke straw whistle.
Boxer comes into the house with a bag
of store-brand peas on his top lip.
I take it back. It’s his bottom lip.
It’s a cold pack.
He tracks snow into the kitchen, gripping groceries,
where I’m completely naked with my man.
I take it back. We’re only
naked from the waist down.
Take it back. My man is repairing the air
conditioner or loose pantry knobs.
Back. My man is tending to my small aloe
in the Tupperware on the sill.
Back. My man is twisting off jar lids with scorched
fingers, each of which I have wrapped in gauze.
I’ll unpack the groceries and say where they belong
to cover bones cracking.
Not there. Red Delicious in the left keeper like a ventricle.
Here. Butter away from the garlic in the door.
Here. Oil by the stove-top for easy reach.
Either man is wailing out there. Construction drills
grind, teeth against the pavement.