Strike 

     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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