The Boxer’s Soliloquy

The Boxer's Sililoquy- Lucas, Matthew

Matt Lucas

The world was dark, and now… it wobbles. How much of my life have I missed? The count is, is four, four already.  Stay down; get up? Stay down; get up? My head hurts, the world spins. Stay down; get up?

I would see her, sitting by the pool. She is gone, sitting there no longer, nor here, by the ring.

It was back and forth, body punches, clinched up, umph, esh, umph, uppercut, spin out, jab, jab. Where was it, the one that I didn’t see? Breathe in, breathe out. The world—is it staying still for me?

How many seconds have passed? Can I stand? Should I take more time on my knees? Breathe in, breath in, breathe out. The referee keeps counting. This should end. He counts so fast.

The world teeters under my feet. It sways. He wipes my gloves. The other man with gloves is coming. Cover. Spin out. Umph, jab, jab, cross… The gloves are so thin. Can he feel my punches? Can he feel pain? Cross, hook, he should have felt that one… His expression is empty. Everything is so slow.

There is that voice. That voice. From my corner, telling me… something—I can’t hear, there is only the sound of sweat and leather.

The pool outside the house smelled like chlorine. She was tanning herself in the sun. Reading; she was always reading. Taking her time. I think her books were her escape, then she escaped. It gave me more time to focus, to focus.

Umph, block, cover, body, head, body, body… When will it end? I don’t know where the clock is. Will the referee count the passing time for me?

2 Comments

  1. Does it end?
    Can the pain end, and heal?
    No; the punches last forever.
    Even when the jabs end, the pain lasts forever.
    Why didn’t she stay?

  2. This is a thoroughly enjoyable example of poetic prose, a story that beautifully straddles two worlds: that of the spirit and the body.

    From the very first words, I swallowed the illusion and fought, as the boxer fought, swamped in doubt, to survive against the inevitability of brute force.

    With a few words, you’ve created an enormous vista of life, Matt Lucas. You’re a talent, and I’d like to read more of your work. Thank you for writing this piece.

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