A third rule for sons still engaging in fistfights
Drew Knapp

They say a fist’s power comes from the legs. The foot kisses hip to shoulder, whipping the hand like God’s lightning tattooing the tail end of a snake. The weight of a first urge hangs on a man in this way. You see the musky horns of fluted daffodils fizzing with bloom and forget that they have roots. In ‘63 a habitual worshipper calls an NFL referee a nigger. He sits in a lawn chair worn to the color of old dollar bills, coldcocked on Fentanyl, basking among Busch empties and lost to the stale sweet pall of the trailer park carpet, that lazy canvas chaise spotted with rosettes of mildew. Tweaked out and beaming, he admires his reflection in the television the way a king admiring himself in a mirror admires the slave to his right first–here’s Romeo, still a kid, the clench in his jaw calcifying. Tonight his legs propel him to the porch and away from the man. Down the slight, shy angle of the gravel drive, signs light up for bingo. The catahoula cur curls up on the back step, its pink mouth open in a luxurious yawn–saying, There are reasons to fight and time enough to learn their names–and the plains of Iowa dream or seem to dream. Give an animal a bone and it will tell you where it comes from.

This is the third in a series of short studies of masculinity on the edge of poverty by Drew Knapp. A first rule… was published at The Citron Review. A second rule… is forthcoming from Eunoia.