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Kayfabe

Kayfabe

This poem by Andrew Analore appeared in Issue 2 of The Lakeshore Review.

My son finds
me watching
professional
wrestling.

“That’s fake,” he says.
But I correct him:
“It’s scripted.”

The guy dressed
as a Russian
is a former middle school
teacher from Canada,
I tell him, and the guy
wearing the mask
wrestled last week
as a deranged hillbilly.

It’s a squash match, over quickly:
The Russian lifts the masked
man high in the air, holds him
there for a moment, slams
him violently to the mat,
covers him for the pin.

The Russian gloats and taunts
the crowd. The masked man lays
prone, groaning and immobile.

“Is he hurt?” My son asks.
“No,” I tell him. “He’s selling –
acting hurt so the Russian
looks more powerful. It’s like a story
that everyone pretends is true.”

His mother calls
him to the kitchen
to meet the new babysitter.

She kisses him goodbye
and we leave, telling ourselves
these date nights will fix everything:
I’ll play the attentive husband;
she’ll play the admiring wife.

We order drinks
and I sell agreement
when she talks about hope,
keeping to myself 
how, that morning,
I couldn’t write a poem
comparing the bronze
in her hair to autumn leaves.

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