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I Should Have Been a Fighter. by Aaron Brame

Getting your ass kicked in the ring
is one thing.
There are bandages enough
and salts and such
and a sponge you can throw when your opponent
shows he’s too tough.

And a bell chimes to let you know
your limits.
You come, you go, you fight for three minutes.
There’s always someone holding a bucket
to spit in and a guy with a belly who
rubs down your arms and says
“Stay with it.”

There’s no phone calls or beers
or doubting for years
that you ever once said what you meant.
There’s just rounds that go by—
not ladies who cry.
“He’s just too tough, man, you can’t make a dent.”

I’d like to have six inches more reach
and be just a little bit lither.
But if I’d been fifteen pounds lighter
I could have been a fighter.


Aaron Brame has been teaching English for twelve years. When not teaching, he’s probably reading something by Raymond Carver, recording new music with The Perfect Vessels, or working on his blog. He lives in East Memphis with his wife and two children.