Taking the Fall

in the WXW they call me “The Golden Geek”
my partner Roy is just “The Warlord”
[hero and villain] we wrestle each other every night
in the capillary towns bleeding off the [exit ramps] of I-76
in the rough ground between Pittsburgh and Philly
eating cheeseburgers [at the Big Boys] sleeping
in the wood motels with the [road Bettys]
of the muscular cupped bras and [7-Eleven coffee]
sometimes with child in tow and [tonight]
we’re putting on the show in the basketball gym
of another [Herbert Hoover High] or [VFW hall]
in the archaeological remains of an iron town
where we will build the [ring] and Roy
will set up a [dressing room] in the men’s room
the way he learned to set up a bedroom
in the back of a [Humvee] or the way I landed here
as a [tech worker] when my code was [shipped] overseas
and they taught us the [holds] how to fake a fall
[turn ketchup into blood] throw a punch that never lands
and they gave me a finishing move [“The Geek Leap”]
where I come somersaulting off the ropes
my [gold lamé] trunks flying wild under the lights
and you can smell [the popcorn] on the floor
and see [the fists] of patrons coming into bloom
all along the audience of tin metal chairs
and Roy is holding back a laugh as I land on him
to conclude [our drama] in the [usual way]
and there’s a road outside [going back to the highway]
where the stars [fall into place] and the moon
holds up its gold belt as Champion
of the Pennsylvania night



Henry Crawford is a poet living and writing in the Washington, DC area. He was a 2016 nominee for a Pushcart Prize for his poem “The City of Washington” in District Lit. His work has appeared in Boulevard, Copper Nickel, Folio, Borderline Press and The Offbeat. His first collection of poetry, American Software, was published in 2017 by CW Books. Visit his website.




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