Brendan Walsh πŸ”ˆ

The Last Poem I’ll Ever Write About Zhang Weili vs. Joanna JΔ™drzejczyk I

Picked like a scab for three rounds, Zhang now pounds Joanna’s forehead
into a monstrous facsimile of humanity, a half-finished sculpture.

The bar hollers at the close-ups. We’re sick thirsty pigs, not-too-drunk but
buzzed enough to growl when the two best womens' flyweights trade blows.

Joanna is not out. Her face tells war stories. A devastated landscape.
Zhang Weili can’t put her down, but we’re worried the punches will add up.

I turn to Max and ask how much damage a body can take. He’s a bio teacher.
He eats chicken wings. We’re battle-giddy, stupid with spectacle.

In two weeks, we lock down the country and this bar closes.
We don’t know that now. We just know we can’t stop watching

grotesque lumps swell on Joanna JΔ™drzejczyk’s once-angular
skull. Zhang wins a split decision. We feel good for some reason,

like it was our fight, like we survived. Like the fighters earned enough
bonuses and legendary status tonight to halt a contagion or buy us one more beer.

Author Reading

About the Author

Brendan Walsh has lived and taught in South Korea, Laos, and South Florida. His work has recently appeared in Rattle, Glass Poetry, Indianapolis Review, American Literary Review, Baltimore Review, Maine Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and other journals. He is the author of six collections of poetry, including Buddha vs. Bonobo (Sutra Press) and fort lauderdale (Grey Book Press). His latest collection, concussion fragment, winner of the 2020 elsewhere chapbook contest, was released in February 2022. He is co-host of the Fat Guy, Jacked Guy podcast with Stef Rubino. He’s online at