By Jon Pineda

Someone grabs us.
Our legs locked together
fall away. We get to our feet.
After the whistle, I lunge,
feint, then take him down
with a single leg. He flails,
flattens out.

I find a wrist
& pull. Parts of the mat
burn his cheek. It’s almost
comical. I put an ear between
his shoulder blades. Our
shared breathing, an ocean.
Lungs open & close

like a hinge.
I bar the arm. The elbow, too,
is a hinge. I bruise his jaw
with a cross face, punch
to the opposite side & grip.
I glance up at the clock.
Memory holds us.

When I wrench his body,
both of us flinch like fish.



Jon Pineda’s new poetry collection is Little Anodynes. He lives in Virginia.