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Evander Holyfield’s Left Ear Remembers June 28, 1997

by Gary Dop

I could see the trouble
in Tyson’s ears
at center ring:
two tiny lobes
playing dumb.
Gloves touched,

then Holy’s jab
danced on Tyson’s
face through round
one and two,
one-two, one-two.

Right got the first bite,
a toddler’s nip,
a lover’s clench,
a light scratch
for two points.
His upper cut

caught me, just
an ear, like thunder
and pushed past
to the wide, wide
air above. His iron
bite dropped me

to the canvas
and I couldn’t
hear myself
scream through
the veil
of blood and spit.
Submerged in fight,

Tyson hadn’t caught
his corner’s use the jab,
the crowd’s Iron Mike
and Holyfield,
or Mills Lane,
keep it clean.

They wrapped me
in a latex glove,
and carried me,
knocked out and
bloody, back
to my head.

I could see
the trouble
in his ears,
two tiny lobes
on a mad bull
in a crowd, in a world
waving red.


Gary Dop studied poetry at the University of Nebraska MFA program. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Pilgrimage, The New Formalist, and Whistling Shade, among others. He directs the Taproot Reading Series in Minneapolis’s Elliot Park Neighborhood, and he teaches creative writing at North Central University. (3/2008)

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