Pugilist at Best

From a photo of Gavin Stephen Lambert Sr. (my grandfather)

Your arms up in a boxer’s pose, hands loose fists;
a black-and-white photo circa nineteen-
forty, but I can tell your eyes were pale
blue, like no one who followed you. Granny’s
Northern Irish blood intervened, gave us
all a dark Celtic complexion, smothered
out the Anglo-Saxon blue. Genetics
is like that, brutal, like your loose fists
that tightened on impact. This picture doesn’t
say much: poor white boy, mid-thirties, handsome,
arrogant, bad with money. How much did
the photo booth charge, who went hungry or
without so that you could play at winning?
Who taught you that pose, the total knockout?

4 Comments

  1. The imagery is vivid. Excellently crafted poem.

  2. Thanks, Cassandra!

  3. Nice work. makes me think of Rilke and Carver doing a similar thing, and yours is right up there with them.

  4. Simon, that’s some pretty steep company. Thanks for the comment!

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