Eloisa Amezcua

Round 7



“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.