You sit there or you stand there,
About to banter or to dance,
A thousand words or steps just waiting
For commands; and well do I think you
Explicitly Christian when you frown
Or when you smile? What’s the difference
As it all goes down for one long count,
My face down on the mat and trying hard
To figure out if you should be
The trainer, or the referee, or even
That last glove against my jaw?
I thought I saw you on the Judgment Day
Pleading all the cases, prosecutor
And defense, one last stand, my jaw
Like some small weapon in your hand.
And realized the sons of Adam
Meet, try a little bit,
And go on somewhere else
With someone else,
But while the battle’s joined
It seems so much for you
Reluctant glory, sacred game.
So grimace with the strain
Or grin with sweaty humor:
Love is vacillation caught
Between the tendons stretching
On your arms and the hopeful
Questions in your eyes.