“Wilder vs. Fury” by Marsh Mallicoat

The walls of your apartment are white on white,
repainted after each previous tenant.
We put the heavyweight match on the projector
and watch it through the dusty cone of light.
The boxers circle the ring, spitting blood,
swinging their fists in turn until exhausted.
To rest they hook their arms around each other
and pull in close enough to share their sweat.
In seven rounds I drink seven virgin beers,
once leaning over to whisper in your neck—
but then Fury lands a string of blows.
Wilder crumples. His corner throws the towel.
My head spins and I fall down to my knees.

You have a little bookshelf in your room
which you’ve filled with all the thuggish authors,
posing so hard inside the dust jackets.
I don’t want to go home, not yet. I dread
the walk alone through streets bleached white with salt
and the wait on the desolate el platform.
I slip away to put the kettle on.
While I’m pouring tea you’re telling me
about who are the foremost slavicists
and the poverty of the English language.
Before the tea is cool enough to drink
I’m nodding off. And once you’ve reached your point
I move in close and wrap my arms around you.

Marsh Mallicoat (They/them)
Marsh Mallicoat is a poet from eastern Kansas. They work with computers and (ostensibly) live in Chicago. You can find them online at marshallmallicoat.com and @marshmallicoat on Twitter.