Knockout Blow

A fulgurous fighter
with flashy techniques and
raw, elemental power
as his rains pummel the earth.
He punches both down and up the scale,
unconcerned with weight class, sex,
or age, being a brawler by region,
which is to say, by
happenstance.
He is literally a
street fighter,
bombarding the streets with a salvo
that leaves bleeding pot holes,
hemorrhaging ditches,
and gushing, gut-punched gutters.
He is a meteorological pugilist
engaged in atmospheric fisticuffs
and taking a break only
to catch his second wind before
doubling down with a shower of
jabs. He is a dirty fighter
even as he washes the world clean
with his torrential sweat.
His fancy footwork
cascades as rivulets athwart the roads,
tripping up the cars with
hydroplaning leg sweeps,
every fender rattling
with oceanic waves of churning water.
Like a ringside announcer
the Emergency Broadcast System
touts his size and speed and
KO count.
As if to justify his weight class he
delivers a series of ice-fisted
hail storms, each one harder than the last,
the barrage cracking windows and
windshields, his winds snapping trees and
telephone poles as he playfully
jump-ropes power lines.
Soon, he bellows taunts
with galeforce winds,
roaring like a train as he
spirals round with his special
twister coup de grace,
the preceding silence but a
feint
before the knockout blow
that crumbles his opponents
to their foundations.
Only after the fight, when he has
trotted his victory lap and
thundered his last victory speech
and the limpid stillness
of the aftermath morning
claims the next day as it own
does the hardest fight come—
the fight of telephone calls and
answering machines,
of jaunty, ironic Muzak while
we wait on hold;
of a claim agent
boxing our ears with
clockwork courtesy and patronizing
politeness, smirking and knowing
with the deadly certainty of a professional killer
that we have already lost this
high stakes prize fight
to the true knockout blow
waiting silently, and serenely,
in the fine print.

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