Rocky Marciano echoes in my memory.
I am 6. My father is a baby doctor. He wears
a suit and a tie that gets peed on every day
by little penises. In his spare time, there
is my mom, my sister and me; his brothers.
This evening he’s in shirtsleeves, gathered
across the street with men from our block
in the heat of Philadelphia’s Indian summer
to watch a boxing match in a house
with no air conditioning, but with the only TV
we knew of. Did they root for Jersey Joe
Wolcott? I would have. Dad’s name was Joe,
Jersey was close by. But Marciano
was crowned the Heavyweight Champion
that night following “the greatest punch
in boxing history,” I discover. Thing is,
it was a delightful surprise – seeing my father
on a Wednesday night on the neighbor’s
front stoop, having a beer, playing
with their Saint Bernard before the match.
We had no dog to pet and no TV and no one had AC.
And Wednesday was my father’s day off,
Wednesday night his date night with my mom.
It would be years later that I would comprehend
my own partner leaving me behind to spend his time
in a living room crammed with screaming, sweaty fans.
It’s a thing, he says.