into the back and swing
- our skinny; weakhaymakers we thought
- would make us grown-men. I wondered
- if we’d get sleepyfrom knocking
- each other to the grass,if we needed gloves
- to shield or breakus from ourselves. One
- afternoon I refusedto fight, Emilio’s punches
- popping my ribs and jaw.My arms fell mute
- until the crowd lost interest.Hit him back! they told me
- as if my body had forgottenhow to hurt.
Alan Chazaro a high school teacher at the Oakland School for the Arts, a Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow at the University of San Francisco, and a June Jordan Poetry for the People alum at UC Berkeley. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various journals including Iron Horse Review, Huizache, Borderlands, BOAAT, Juked, and The Acentos Review.