Lacing Into

May 24, 2013

He twines black ribbon around his wrist. With a yellow strand, I mirror him. Weave slips around the thumb and passes through open channels between fingers stretched wide. Twice around and across, the dressing lays itself over the bumps of knuckles where once we counted days of the month. He is finished with both of his before I am even halfway around the first. His fingers turn my hand and graze my left palm just before mummifying its living flesh beneath warped satin dressing.

He digs through a crumpled gym bag, tossing aside braces and gloves, no, no. Big steps brushing past, rooting in the corner by the weight bench. Here, these. In inverse proportion to his focus, his vast vocabulary shrinks to monosyllables. Black gloves land at my feet. Stepping over the lip dividing cold linoleum from blue mat, his sticking feet thock thock and spring.

With sheathed hands, he reaches up over his shoulders and in a single wrench, hauls the collared shirt from his back. It lands on an incline bench and then slides to the floor in a deflated heap. Naked now from the waist up, he darts to another corner of the room and powers up a driving beat on the ipod. He breezes past me with a brusque kiss at my neck. Pushing hands into gloves, he twines his neck and yanks straps closed. A timer bongs the start of the clock, and he

Wham

Folds into fighter, snakeskin back coiled, weave and duck and trace the prey

Jab jab upper cut hook

Staccato pop

The crimson bag shudders and sways but never far. He feints, lifting padded hands before his face. Swiveling behind them, he vanishes here and darts back out halfway around the bag. Motley Crüe cracks drumstick and heavy wire against ceiling and rib. He is wet pinball flash, skin beading slick.

pop pop

THUD

The bag on its pivot taunts him, coming back for more no matter where he slams it, no matter which part of its circumference takes the blow. He comes from every angle, sometimes two at once. Relentless feet bare, his calves flex to vault him then catch to release him. At the epicenter of this silver tempest is a warrior doing double-duty as shaman, hammering without pause in a raindance marked on his bones. Arrowhead eyes cut a faceless foe right through its center of gravity. Truncheon fists drop low reports against the gut of a menace both recalcitrant and infuriatingly indifferent.

Pop pop POW

Ding ding ding

The bell (three minutes)

He falls back. Arms still flexed, wet veins flush and rise like seismic formations. He shakes down his surging limbs. Dark furrows crease a face flooded by typhoon. Gulping breath, he steps to me and without request or invitation, lifts my shirt and presses his mouth to my belly

drops it, steps past

the three-minute round stretched to a whole era lost and another begun

As the eukaryote once ruled the earth and then was deposed by a mightier army, as allosaurus preyed and then was felled, each epic transition unfolds in a billion-year snap

a ninety-second epoch stretching from Eden through an asteroid-blasted land in which seas roil and crust splits, to the thrumming breath at the threshold of now

when this alien species comes creeping naked from the reeds baring his teeth.

Across the room, his voice or something like it:

Your turn.

Ribboned hands in. I bite and close the strap. Step to the bag. Leave him behind.

Crouch.

Ding ding ding

Begin.


 

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