April 1, 2017 orangeq2017

How to Take a Punch

Kathleen Glasgow


First, you must forget how much you loved the marigolds, tamping their dark earth tenderly, ignoring the rough breath along the edges of the yard’s horizon, the blaring white stitch of Adidas suddenly appearing. Your siblings pant for breath in the clearing off the garden. All day, he has run them and they are tired. His stopwatch is tired. Looking down, the marigolds seem tired,too, and you take them in your fists as he begins, soft heads sinking in your fingers. Your body grows slight as his grows bigger. Is everything a story, after all? The neighbors are ghosts. Schoolteachers are elves. Children are blind dolls. No one is anyone. Later, months later, you will step from the schoolbus, like any other day and any other schoolbus, and look up at the dead gray Altoona sky, like all the other skies you have lived under: Pottstown, Johnstown, McKeesport. Some laughter, it doesn’t much matter, will hit your chest like he did, and break you. The boy who lives up the street, whose father will die soon of some heart affliction, crumples against the curb. Get up, you will say. Children, even your brother and sisters, will stare as you kick, kick, and kick. But still. You will say, Get up, fight me. Let me show you how it really is.


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