Saturday, May 10, 2008


Originally published by New England Review

Boxers in the Key of M


As in Marvelous and Macho as in Leon's
younger brother Michael, a name I learned

in Catholic school. St. Michael of the mat,
of the left hook and the deafening blow,

of teeth glistening as they made their arc
to the laps of women sitting ringside.

You don't like to see a man get knocked out
cold? Then you've never lived in Hartford

or any town of boarded windows. Have you
ever gotten hit or thrown against a wall?

There's a sweetness to it, that moment when
your God would forgive you anything. One

punch free as yesterday's papers. Marvelous
the way his body moved on the t.v.

screen. And me? I moved around the room,
bobbed and weaved. I learned to hold my breath

so I could fight with my head held under water.

Gaby Calvocoressi, aka Gabrielle Calvocoressi, teaches at Warren Wilson College's MFA program and at California College of Art's MFA Program. She formerly taught at Stanford University. Her book, "The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart" (Persea Books), won the top poetry prize from the Connecticut Center for the Book in 2006. It contains a cycle inspired by the Hartford circus fire of 1944.

"Circus Fire, 1944," published in Paris Review, won the B.F. Connors Prize.

When she received the Center for the Book prize, Calvocoressi said she got her first library card at the Hartford Public Library. Calvocoressi received her M.F.A. from Columbia University.

Calvocoressi lives in Los Angeles.

Her poem, "Prayer in the Name of Saint Thomas Hearns," appeared in The Cool Justice Report last year.

  • Hit Man Poem

  • The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart
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