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Thursday, September 13, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

As a four-year-old he had a Superman punching bag. Then, when he turned seven, he pleaded for a Wonder Woman bag but his parents refused him. He wanted to punch his parents. When he was nine they gave him a heavy, professional, leather TKO punching bag. TKO: Technical Knock Out. Not one of those hanging bags that you see in gyms, but a floor model as tall as he was. A real man's bag, his father called it. And for the next month he beat up on it, then joined the Little League and lost interest. His father and older brother carried the bag to the basement. Then he took advanced science in seventh grade and decided to measure the effect water which sometimes drained into the basement had on the sand or pellets inside the punching bag. He unzipped the back. Bras, panties, thongs, and stockings tumbled out. He ran upstairs, choking with the smell. He stared at his mother.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.