Shadow Boxing

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The closest my dad ever got to poetry

was when he savoured some word

like pugilist, or the tip-toe springiness

he sensed in bob and weave,

his unalloyed delight in the flytings

and eyeball-to-eyeball hype

that went with big fight weigh-ins.


And maybe I should have been

a contender, when I did my stint

in the ring, my dad convinced

I had style and the stamp of a winner.

In the end I just got bored.

You had to have a killer’s instinct

to do much better than a draw.


In the gym the lights are low.

It’s after hours. I’m on my own.

The boards are rank with sweat

and stale endeavour. Shadow boxing

like the best of them, I will show

him feints, a classic stance,

trying always to keep up my guard.

◄ Montesqieu

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