Sam beat the hell
out of a ghost last night,
his fists all tangled with cobwebs
and soft blood.
When the body holding his father’s soul
hit the ground Sam did not stop
but kicked it and broke it
until the bouncers pulled him off.
Then the poor vessel got up
and shoved a knife into Sam
before anyone could stop him.
Sam didn’t die, though,
not right away. In the ambulance
on the way to Milford is when it happened
and Sam got a sour laugh
over who was waiting for him
when he made the leap
into that space. The two of them
would have leaped at each other if either
had solid arms, but instead they just hovered and snarled
with no material way
to continue the fight right then.
But both Sam and the guy he’d attacked
have brothers, so no worries.
Dad will get his chance
to goad Sam into rage again.
In a few days
Sam will seize his little brother’s body
and force him to square off with the brother
of the man who killed him.
How I hate you, he’ll say to his dad
as he moves his brother’s arms
to smash back at the face
of his demise — the face he sees
there, not the boy’s face.
Shut up, Dad will say. Don’t be a pussy.
Shut up and fight.
Fight like a ghost in a man’s body,
the way I taught you