As cloth, as thread, as mothfood
folded in a mother's closet, the white
tae kwon do uniform and a year's procession
a paper-route, as income, as check, as responsibilits,
short of another year's tuition. one photo, as proof, as marker,
of the tail end of puberty, the awkward lip-open gape
and curls parted down the middle. It was just one
year, the last one for years, I ever got in a fight.
It was at church camp, with a much bigger camper, a football
player, I hit him over the head with a broom and a counselor
broke it up. As resolution, handshakes by campfire.
As time went, it dawned it was a fight I
would have lost, but continued anyway. As
middle school honor dictates, as fear and bravado
lead in equal measure, as I'd not yet learned to
joke my way out of things.
Fight or flight never leaves,
just takes different paths.
As memento, as reminder of my own fists,
of splinters I never caught, of the black belt
I was a month and a tournament away
from, two halves of a board,
tucked with keepsakes, marked with
sharpie, in thirteen year old