For All The World To See

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Bell clanging like an insistent father,

Another grueling round complete.

Sweat and blood mingling on the padded floor,
Muscles straining with the effort to stand,
Struggling, fighting to remain there.

Stumbling to the corner, grasping at the ropes,
Relief, refreshment, and rest awaits,
Cool water dousing to awaken one’s spirit,
Calling forth energy for the next bout,
Hoping to remain afoot this time,
Grounded, strongly defensive.

Another clang of the bell…
And it begins again.

The pummeling is more intense, more determined,
Still holding his own, intent on his purpose, his goal is in sight.

This is it.
The final battle to regain a title,
For all the world to see.

It’s mine –
Thoughts focused and positive,
It’s always been mine.
No one will take it from me.

More pummeling, more bashing,
Blood flows easily from the nose, the mouth, the head,
But can he stand?

It’s mine –
Thoughts upbeat and clear;
It’s always been mine.
No one can take it from me.

He pounds back,
Punch for punch,
Flesh against flesh,
Bruise for bruise,
He holds his ground,
Confident, aware, yet wary, of his enemy…

No, that’s not right.
Not the enemy;
His opponent.
The one who will defeat him…
If he lets him.

No!  Not defeat!
Never defeat!

The prize is too close at hand,
Belongs to him,
It’s his for the taking.

Soon, soon,
Not long now.

Punches more fierce, more powerful,
Wracking the body from all directions, it seems, at once.

This one is good,
A fighter,
Younger, stronger…better?

No, not better.
Not yet.

Their feet dance like twittering birds in a meadow,
Grunting, groaning,
Every contact an effort,
Red faces, wet, shiny,
Sweat pouring, blinding.
Fists up, defending, hoping for that opening.
That one punch of defeat.

More dancing, more groaning, more…swelling.
Ignore the pain.
Focus…focus…

Now! storms the tired brain.

Bam! goes a fist.
Nice clip.

Then Bam!
Another strike, right where it belongs.

Stumbling…stumbling…

Another strike to the face, then

Down!

He goes down.

Then Bam! again,
As his opponent hits the ground.

“Knockout!” calls the ref.

Yes!

Then faltering, faltering…backwards,
Away…yet still standing,

His arm held aloft by the ref,
Then cheers, exaltation from the crowd,
Boisterous…loud…shouting…noise…

He knew…
Knew it was his.
It was always his.
His title secure…
For yet another season.

For all the world to see.

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