Poetry | March 01, 1989

I’m babysitting the Garlow boy,

who is asleep now,
and the fight is over,
Louis having disposed of the challenger


at 2:09 of the opening round.

Beside me on the porch swing
sits the girl who knows more
about my dreams than I do,


she is in them that much,

her face so delicate that one
right cross, one smart left jab
would surely for all time spoil it,


and later I’ll think how

behind each great public event
lies the small private one,
how the small one, aware of the other,


measures itself against the lofty clamor

until it’s the private one that
truly matters, that endures,
almost as if the mind becomes convinced


that greatness is a ruse

enabling smallness its breathing space,
its down-home victory. Beside me my girl
sits more than ever elegant and alert


because Mauriello, on his seat against the ropes,

didn’t, and her lips when I kiss them
taste sweetly of the blood
that isn’t there. This night


is like a pod about to burst,

an Indian-summer moon I swear
within arm’s reach beyond the trellis,
the thumping of the dynamos


across town at the power plant

as if the heartbeat of some God,
almighty. Well, I knew all along the Bomber
could not be whipped by a Bronx


bartender. I knew, and my knowing

adds a modicum of pride
to the lust of the moment,
Mauriello (I’ll


read this tomorrow evening

in the Beacon)
weeping in his dressing-room,
my girl and I so filled with whatever


weeping isn’t

we bite our tongues,
I think to moderate the simple joy
we’d otherwise indulge by crying.

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