Boxing at Mar a Lago, by Robert Walton

Boxing at Mar a Lago
by Robert Walton

Morning shaves grown to blue bristles,
Cigarettes in the corners of their mouths,
Hard arms dangling from hard tattoos-
Uncles taught me out back
Where the trashcans squat
And the women don’t look.

You can beat a big guy, Kid,
But you got to take a punch,
And another,
And another.
Keep your elbows together;
Keep your gloves up.

Take the punches,
The ones you block,
The ones that get through,
Take the pain – wait,
Wait until he opens up
Then hit him with all you got.

The uncles took punches for years
Until the last punches came along,
Corona virus came along,
And plugged their lungs with
Covid snot
That even the choking
Respirator
Failed to move.

I still keep my gloves up,
My elbows together,
But the Mar a Lago people –
Louis Vuitton shod,
Helmut Lang scented,
Will never open up.

Robert Walton’s novel, Dawn Drums was awarded first place in the 2014 Arizona Authors Association’s literary contest and also won the 2014 Tony Hillerman Best Fiction Award. With Barry Malzburg, Walton wrote The Man Who Murdered Mozart, published by Fantasy & SF in 2011. His “Do you feel lucky, Punk?” received a prize in the 2018 Bartleby Snopes dialog only contest. Most recently, his story, “Tryst” was published in The Ghost Story. Robert is a retired middle school teacher and a lifelong mountaineer with many ascents in the Sierras and Pinnacles National Park. He lives in King City, California.

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