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William Fargason

strike while your fist is still     in your pocket     strike

while the iron is still     an iron     strike against

a lover’s brick wall     each footstep through the forest 

reminds you     of every road    you couldn’t be for them    

strike while you still remember     your neighbor’s soybean fields

you got lost in     strike that child     from your memory     

who you once were     strike while you still have a home     

worth striking against     strike that last line     strike that whole

last page     each syllable a cracked tooth     in your smile   

strike before the sweat falls     before she gets home

before she zips up the suitcase     says she’s moving back

to Tampa     to sort through the years     strike that weeks-old

shit from your head     and when you strike     really put

your head into it     strike while you still have a voice box

worth punching     for so many years     you struck

against      your own fists     trying to find ways to strike

the heart out     each punch into your chest     made the sound

of a fist against a baseball mitt     strike while you can 

still see the exit     as if you could get three strikes

and     finally     quit     the years of hating not the body 

you were striking against     but the self inside the body     

strike while there’s still a self left     to strike against     

and when you think you’re done     strike again

William Fargason is the author of Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara (University of Iowa Press, 2020), and the winner of the Iowa Poetry Award. His poetry has appeared in The Threepenny Review, New England Review, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, The Cincinnati Review, Narrative, and elsewhere. He earned an MFA in poetry from the University of Maryland and a PhD in poetry from Florida State University. He lives with himself in Tallahassee, Florida, where he serves as the poetry editor at Split Lip Magazine.

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