Knocked Down Dreaming
by Belinda Roddie
Always wanted to be a southpaw:
In the boxing ring or on the baseball diamond,
I'd reign supreme with a simple flex of
my wrist. Maybe I'd wear leather gloves, or
maybe I'd throw leather instead. Either way,
someone would get creamed in the fight.
But I lost my left hand in a freak accident
involving a dumb kid in science class
and a flagon of potent chemicals. What
remains is a phantom feeling, an itch
to hit someone with a fist that isn't there,
like a ghost rising in a plume of hot air
from the withered stump.
Always wanted to be a southpaw: Now
I use my one paw to scrape at a can of
beer, wet my mouth with cheap foam
and belch out a new anthem. On one TV
in the bar, the home team loses in the ninth.
On another, some poor sap gets TKO'd. He
falls to the floor with his upper lip split and
bloody. His rival stands triumphantly over
him. His left hand rises to catch the roar
of the crowd in his leather glove.