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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 12, 2018.
About this Poem 

“Before turning pro, ‘Schoolboy’ Bobby Chacon was notorious for starting fights in liquor store parking lots after school. He began training as a boxer in the late ’60s after his future wife, Valorie Ginn, encouraged him to make a living out of his natural fighting skills. Chacon went on to win two world boxing championships during his sixteen-year career, though he faced many tragedies and pitfalls along the way.”
—Eloisa Amezcua

Round 3

            after Tyehimba Jess 

Freedom is what you can buy 
with a left jab & a right cross. 

You’ve got the uppercut of a champ.
On a sweaty August night, you watch 

Ramos v Ramos from the Olympic
on TV. You turn off the blaring AC, 

want to hear the fighters’ tssiiuu tssiiuu, exhaling
as they attempt to break each other’s skin. 

You’re light on your feet like Mando, 
got Sugar’s hand speed. Freedom 

is your girl by your side telling you to fight. 
She brings your boxing license 

in a lunch bag while you labor 
at Lockheed, roots for you in Rocky 

Lane’s garage on a Sunday 
as you spar any man who dares.
 
She wipes your burning face 
with a cool towel, the sinewed shape 

of your body surfacing quick 
after you trade in Budweiser for a jump
 
rope. Freedom is the rattle in your jaw 
the first time you take a hook 

to the gut, the way a glove slides 
across your nose slick with Vaseline 

as you size up the weary contender, 
know that look in his eyes that whispers 

across the canvas between rounds. Finish me 
already, body shriveling in the corner, you’ve won.

Copyright © 2018 by Eloisa Amezcua. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2018 by Eloisa Amezcua. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 12, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Eloisa Amezcua

Eloisa Amezcua

Eloisa Amezcua's debut collection, From the Inside Quietly, was published by Sundress Publications in 2018. She is the founder of Costura Creative and lives in Columbus, Ohio.