By Ryan Quinn Flanagan


The pregnant are ready to pop.  Always expecting.

Busy ants lead back to sugar.  And there is this gym

you train at in Brooklyn where they teach ju-jitsu as a first language.

A striker shoring up their game.

You’re a cage fighter, of course there is blood.

Some of yours and some of the other, most democratic.

That silly way your hands are always broken or in training.

No one can touch them, like an early Rembrandt.

Working the small circuit looking for your break.

Losing just as much as you win.

And that weight cut.  I wouldn’t wish that

upon anyone.  All those hours in the ice bath

surrounded by yes men that never once

had to climb into the fire.


I understand the fight.

The way each punch makes you feel.

That bold rush from a touch of gloves.

The way it has always been.


Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, The Academy of the Heart and Mind, Setu, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.


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