A Boxer’s Bell
Arty was born in the coal mines,
hands blackened by the hardness of a coal miner’s life,
a tough guy who learned how to street fight.
Like a boxer, he took a boxing stance
at the sound of the bell,
any bell—even a cowbell or a school bell.
He threw left hooks and roundhouse rights
but took too many blows to the head,
wasn’t able to think straight,
had to count with broken fingers,
couldn’t hear with cauliflower ears;
his arteries were as hard as a rock
and his lungs were full of anthracite dust.
Mark Tulin is a former mental health therapist from Philadelphia who lives in Santa Barbara, California. He has a poetry chapbook, Magical Yogis, published by Prolific Press, and two upcoming books: Awkward Grace (Poetry), and The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories. His stories and poetry have appeared in Fiction on the Web, Ariel Chart, Amethyst Magazine, The Writing Disorder, among anthologies and podcasts. His website is Crow On The Wire.