Dad taught him to fight

sparring in the kitchen
socked feet dancing across scarred linoleum
reaching out

clenched in pockets
boulders in miniature
unfurling gnarled fingers reluctantly
they perform,
return home

He knew what they said
still read the paper
found his name buried
usually misspelled
they misread him
mistook his falls as failure
bent knees as surrender

swings out in reflex
as he goes down
Remembers each time he feels the flash
Dad taught him to fight
to dance in socked feet in front of the oven