Fist Fight

Fist Fight

Today I met a man

His eyes tired from unkind years

His skin now a visage of endurance

I stood there, waiting for my train

He sat mouthing words I couldn’t make out

Curious, I decided to delay and sat next to him

That’s when I realised he was crying

I had to ask, why do you weep sir?

He said nothing, did nothing but let the tears roll

The tears made their way down a path not unfamiliar to them

His eyes were strained, swollen

He must have been crying a while. I said out loud

I’ve been crying all of my golden years, he said

Without turning or gesturing towards me

golden years, he repeated but this time he laughed

I’m sorry sir, I said as if to fix his woes

how old are you son? He asked finally turning his head

Twenty-seven. I answered shakily

make a fist he said to me

I stared at him with stark confusion

A fist sir?

yes, a fist his reply was stern this time

So I made a fist, first time that was weird for me

He took it in his palm. Rough

His eyes moved around the subway

I was scared he was going to sedate me and harvest my insides

did you know your heart isn’t any bigger than this fist?

At that moment I felt my heart race

No sir, I had no idea…

the fist and the heart have a lot in common, he continued

there’s so much capacity for love and for destruction in them both

I’ve watched my sons head off to fight in the war

each of them enlisting because of a conviction in his heart

so much love for his nation in his heart and an equal and opposite amount of violence in his fist

My fist had begun to tighten and was losing colour

My eyes fixed on this man

I’ve lost my sons in this same war not because of the violence in his enemy’s fist

but because of the same love for his country

because with so much love comes so much violence

I loved my sons, but didn’t stop them from going off to die

not because I couldn’t but because of the same love I had for them

so I sit here and tell my story to whoever listens or cares

oftentimes it’s no one

think of the people you love son, and of those who love you

I thought of Anne, and my Mom.

do you fight to protect them? or does your fist beat because your heart does too?

when you race towards certain death, do you feel like a pawn just before you die?

I bowed my head down, my thoughts were running wild now

I could feel my fist begin to numb out

Can I stop making this fist Sir? I asked

to stop making this fist is to let go of those you love

I raised my head as the words sent chills down my spine

But he was gone, I was alone

Just me in my uniform, the bench and the train screeching to a halt…

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