Brandon C. Spalletta

Grief is a heavyweight boxer
who’s trained his whole life
for twelve long rounds
with the masterpiece
you thought you were building,

prefers haymaker after haymaker
but doesn’t discriminate against stiff jabs—

utilizing superior footwork
he always keeps you on the outside
of your old life looking back in.

Right when you begin to believe
that it might just be time to move
forward and smile when you recall
the embrace of your brother
from another mother
and the putrid stench of cigarettes
belly-laughing with too many shots
of whatever steadied his hand
long enough to run the pool table

Grief will sidestep and counter-hook
leaving your vision on wobbly knees
with the hollow promises of growing old
ringing in your ears like the thunderstorms
you used to watch.

He’ll pour it on and push
the pace after the contest is over,
ignoring any towel your corner
threw in with mercy

taunting you with his own Ali Shuffle,
hands high in the air claiming victory
and the memory of each soul
you burn to hold again

and you’ll wipe your vision clear
and bite down on your mouthpiece
for another go at love

Brandon C. Spalletta lives a several second drive from his hometown of Herndon, Virginia with his wonderful wife and young son, and their equally wonderful Great Pyrenees. His poetry has been published in WWPH WritesBourgeon, and others, as well as the anthology 2014 Storm Cycle: Best of Kind of a Hurricane Press.