It is a truth universally known
that a young single man in possession
of a good fortune, maybe even his own,
must be in want of women’s affection.
And I know I’ve stolen the first sentence
of that famous writer, Miss Austen, Jane.
To steal and twist it I make repentance,
but to grab notice with less is insane.
Here’s the drop, of which I’m guilty as sin,
mansplaining what smart Liz always saw.
How women’s statements get ignored by men
whose pride and privilege feel like law.
Thirteen lines I’ve gone on, regrets I send.
Just like a man, said nothing in the end.
It was a short, wicked blow
that put him down.
What started at the shoulder,
connected where the jaw
affixes to the skull.
T’was a thing of geometric,
kinesthetic and pathological
beauty, bisecting the great arc
of it’s target’s roundhouse paw,
stopping his forward motion
with it’s direct line of force
to its target of bone,
tendon and nerve endings —
the temporomandibular joint —
the victor knew would drop this bum
like a sack of haggis composed of
offal, Bud Ice, testosterone and hubris.
While the crowd’s hooting
dwindled, she shook her hand
and ordered a rum punch…
Ever a champion of women’s rights to beat the boys at their own games (I coached girls’ basketball for 30 years), this piece flashed out at me from that very first line. I followed it, building upon that short right hand to a summer quaff for its knockout ending, which might please only me.