From Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, published by Brick Books in 2008. Watson, at 210 then, shot like a crowbar, lets fly from the top of the circle. Somehow I lose it, take one full in the mouth. Jesus. Spitting bits of tooth and blood. Lefty’s out through the gate in a flash so I know it’s not good news. Here’s the worst of it, you’re sick to death of the life but worried over your job, and Lefty says, “What bad luck, we just send Hall back out to Edmonton . . .” The clinic and its dread utensils, the clatter in pans, blood by the door, not mine. “Some woman out on Grande River,” the doctor says, “she wouldn’t let go of her purse, so he slashes her face, the son of a bitch.” Hums to himself as he thumbs back my lip and murmurs it’s getting to be a nasty neighbourhood. Hums the same tune as last time, stitching my lip, I count five on the inside, seven out, is twelve, thinking, what’s that song? “Forget the freezing,” I tell him, thinking of Lumley the night when they toss me over his sweater. First snow in fall he’s gone with the birds. “Jesus no, forget the freezing.” Twenty minutes tops, I skate back into the roar and hammering feet of the crowd. They love me tonight, the shits. And I’m standing on my head out there. I stop everything they throw at me but one. A minute to go, the crowd’s up again and gone crazy and wouldn’t you know, I even remember the song—Is that all there is, my friend? Though I won’t be dancing tonight, no ice-cold beer, no inch-thick steak for me to celebrate. Still, I’m the one with the grin, big enough gap for a truck as Gordie says, laughing, and Hall back in Edmonton, freezing his ass.