I box depression every day,
trapped in the ring,
waiting for the bell to end the round.
It seldom rings.
I know the slippery, salty tang of sweat and tears.
I know the smell of the mat up close,
the gritty feel of it as my body slams full force.
I know the siren song of failure
that woos me to stay down, to sleep.
But I am a fighter.
I fight to live.
I listen for the voices in the crowd
“Get up! Get up!
Just one more time!”
I summon strength from them into my shaking arms
and push myself up from the blood-stained mat.
Pangs of pain and
magnetic gravity battle me.
I will myself to stand, stunned and swaggering
and face my foe again.
I do not fight alone.
In every gym,
in every town,
in all the world,
there stands a boxer,
waiting for the bell,
when he can stumble to the people in his corner,
who wipe his brow, soothe his pain,
advise, hydrate and rejuvenate him
for the next part of the fight.
The crowd cheers on,
and every time I fall,
I get back on my feet,
snort back the blood,
and raise my fists to fight again.
Sharon Dockweiler, author of No Buttons for Suzy Cow and the chap book, Whatever Works, has been published in YouandMeMagazine.com, Oberon, The Suffolk County Poetry Review, and The Bards Annual, among others. She holds the distinction of winning first place in the Princess Ronkonkoma Productions Poetry Contest four years running. She teaches two writing workshops on Zoom. Learn more at SDockWriter.org.