We were an unscheduled match
On a card already subject to change
Supping winner’s champagne before the night was over.
He tried to say I was more than local talent
That I had been brought in to do more than lose
And I smiled, and did not believe him.
The steps to the ring weaved under my vision
I stumbled over the ropes, falling
He laughed, helped me over, and pinned me early.
I struggled, a token struggle, one shoulder up
But my feet were unsteady
And he was so sure that his place was here.
When my shoulders hit the mat again
I looked up at his face, at that smile, that winner’s smile
And went limp at his forearm on my throat.
I lay still, waiting, and counted under my breath: 1, 2, 3
He did not get off me
I did not kick out
And the only sound was the roar of the crowd.