The Fighter

there are stentorian voices inside his skull
that brood about influence and worth
and possess a callow need for attention.

they love to traipse in, mill about, and interrupt.
and though he fights them
with his bare fists
until the skin on his knuckles is shaved and grated down to the meat
he eventually loses his footing
and drops like an empty shirt
a solid piece of steel.

others do not vouchsafe their opinions
when he reaches for the ropes to pull himself back up,
his arms quivering from the strain.

but as he gets older,
his progress slows to the crawl of apple mold
and most can't help but wonder, how much more
of that broken body he can lift. 

he's an aging prize fighter.

and he won't quit.

and it doesn't surprise anyone
that he's scarcely on speaking terms
with his own mind,

what with how many times it's knocked him down.

but still, he just keeps on going.
like a machine.
pushing through the day
like an auger through the grain,

all the while
nervously swinging

at the air.