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.