“Former world bantamweight champion Ruben Olivares of Mexico ruined
the perfect record of local featherweight hero Bobby Chacon, scoring a 9th
round knockout.” -Associated Press, June, 1973
On the mornings you’re home,
you read the newspaper over coffee.
That’s what men do. The National League won
the All-Star game in Kansas City. Germans bought
a chemical plant in Wyandotte, Michigan.
An officer in Dallas played Russian roulette
in the front seat of a police cruiser with his .357 Magnum
& a 12-year-old boy—Santos Rodriguez.
His older brother, David, sat hand-cuffed in the backseat.
Under the headline, a photo of the boys
standing in front of a shiny car taken months before
the boy became a headline. They’re beautiful
& smiling, & you think of the picture in the paper
from the morning before your fight
with Olivares—the two of you black-haired
& tan-skinned with your Mexican
surnames in bold letters overhead. You could be brothers
even in the ring where he strafed you with a straight right
to the chin so hard you fell to your knees. He beat you
unmercifully. Ponce threw in the towel between rounds
& your undefeated record gone. It’s true that brothers fight
& sometimes they bleed. You read that the boys
were taken from their beds, accused of stealing
Cokes from a vending machine. The officer jumped
out of the car after the single shot hit Santos’ head.
David told reporters his baby brother’s last words:
I am telling the truth & how he reached with his body
yelling you’re gonna be alright as blood pooled
on the car floor until both of their feet were soaked.
ELOISA AMEZCUA is an Arizona native. Her debut collection, From the Inside Quietly, is the inaugural winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize selected by Ada Limón. She is the author of three chapbooks and is the founder and editor of The Shallow Ends: A Journal of Poetry. You can find her at www.eloisaamezcua.com.