Boxing Felix
By Jen Karetnick

Everybody’s a bridesmaid
when Felix courts Oscar
with a ring in Vegas,
even his cousin Ivan
who throws his own punches
at Casa Bacardi in Miami
International Airport, crushing
mint leaves like so many noses
in the bottom of the rocks glasses,
adding the sugar water he cooks up
himself and the rum. He’s proud
of his mojitos and justly so, the bite
countered by the breath-freshening
sweet, tempting, tempting. He notes:
Our flight for Puerto Rico
leaves at the same time
the red-eye spins away from San Juan
with the city’s husbands–all
cousins–aboard, bound for glory
bigger than the mojito
and the rum that came from Cuba,
richer even than the piña colada.
In Condado, we won’t see the fight
on TV; we’ll be fanning ourselves
and sipping rum at a wedding
where the women outnumber
the men and dance with each other
while bats, alone or in pairs,
swoop in and out from under
the florescent lights. Later,
knocked out, we’ll sleep through
the surging, masculine crowd
like any bride in rapture
for one man who, his hand
taken in triumph, marked
forever by this night
most closely linked
with another man’s name–
now so labeled–will
still somehow believe
what has happened to him
has always been his decision.