Poison Pie Publishing House: The Pusillanimous Pugilist

The Pusillanimous Pugilist

There is no calling for a pusillanimous pugilist.
The world is already full of those who bow,
who pursue activities for which they are poorly suited,
under the flying banner of cowardice. I should know.

Although the pusillanimous pugilist maintains
a defensive posture, he is beaten mercilessly.
The flesh around the eye socket darkens and swells.
Blood coagulates at a gash in his lip, tasting of iron.

There can be no mistake; he deserves this beating, and worse,
for it is only in this punishment that he gives shape
to his lack of understanding, his misplaced role, his sole redeeming
feature--a vulnerable gesture of indomitable defiance,

in which he is unrewarded for his obstinacy, except
by this act of will, which cries, "I persisted, though I saw,
early on, that I had erred in judgment, for in the flurry of blows
I proved unable to detect a means of escape."

The Pusillanimous Pugilist
David Keffer
Knoxville, TN
July 22, 2014