The Gift

The Christmas I turned twelve,
my father gave me boxing gloves,
strapped his old and my new ones
to our wrists. Between beers,
he showed me how to jab, feint,
counter, clinch and hook—
my dark blood glossy on his laced leather
each time he dropped me.
Get up you crybaby. Get up,
goddamn you. I rose,
swinging wildly at something
between us I couldn’t defeat,
something I’m still fighting,
though he’s long gone.