Joe’s mother clapped him on the back
With pride. Strong, she’d say, like an announcement,
Nodding. Her one hand cupped the air, his coat,
And thumped. Halved applause. My son, the boxer,
Stories of him (to other mothers) began.
Every morning, before school, Joe
Ran those streets. He’d pull his sweatshirt tight
Around his shoulders until he felt his back
Hot and damp. The grey cloth clung,
Dappled, another skin, camouflage.