“I am the greatest. I said that before I knew I was.”
He wakes, tilts head forward, sees boxing gear
at foot of bed. Rolls over, goes back to sleep,
wakes up again, peers thru rheumy eyes
at boxing gloves on bedposts.
Raises arm, examines hand in morning light.
Straightens middle finger of left hand with right hand,
sticks finger in crooked nose,
pulls it forth, wipes it on bedspread.
In this way he affirms his hands
have no functional limitations. Someone knew,
someone saw the thumb that is beside itself.
When the time comes, if ever
someone else will tie the knots of both gloves.
If he loses, well he won’t lose.
After he wins, he will untie the knots
with his front teeth, that is if he has any left
at the evening’s end.
Kicks bedcovers. A mouth guard clatters to the floor.
Mouth guard, like gloves, not his idea. Can’t breathe
or tell his opponent to put it where the sun don’t shine.
Best, he thinks, to be who you are
Rather than who others think you ought to be.
He sits, throws feet onto floor, arises, gathers up the goods --
gloves, mouth guard, jockstrap, shorts,
opens the window and tosses all out onto the lawn.
Goats, grazing, move in for the old one two, one two time to chew.
This man, he saunters over to the mirror,
puts fists in front of face, takes the stance,
one foot fore, the other aft.
His opponent sneers, tells him he’s the greatest--
goats chewing on glove strings confirm it.