ditch,

the poetry that matters

Ryan Dilbert

Ryan Dilbert is from both Houston, Texas and Grand Cayman.  He currently teaches English in central China.  He received his MFA from Antioch LA.  His work has appeared in Flashquake, Red Fez, McSweeney's Internet Tendency and is forthcoming in Vulcan and NANO.

Champ

I spent two weeks inside the former champion of the world.

I climbed into the back of his head

while he read a pamplet about Saaka National Park.

and wiped his mouth with a stained, red sweatshirt.

He was once one of the most feared men in boxing.

Now he was a bag of wilted lettuce.

A guitar with a broken neck leaned against the wall in a hallway.

His aqua bathrobe was tied loosely

the pockets stuffed with splintered chicken bones.

He looked down at his own knuckles wistfully

as I explored the scars in his mouth

the backside of his stitches.

I found a partially digested plastic bag

mold-colored pills

memories.

 

He hit Casey the Cobra so hard that his nose bent like a dog-earred page.

made McConnity bite his own tongue off

raised his arms in victory

covered the red of his glove with fresh blood.

I scribbled notes on my pad.

I crawled out

and put my hat back on.

There was a crude drawing on his ceiling.

An elephant on its side.

Hyenas pulling flesh off.

The sun setting.

He said,

Don’t make me look like that.

 

 

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