Boxing transcends cinematic stereotypes – tangible ropes trumping tired tropes. My strength between four posts not in my arms or legs but in my peace. Outside the ring vibes chaos. Inside, calm. Inside – only place I hear my own voice and not hell’s. Inside, every move telegraphed by Zen. Mind and body instinctively knowing what to do, focus instead on breath. And block throws – they are men and have something to prove. Time’s right, my own arm extends, and there’s power behind it – more than I would’ve imagined. Connect, connect, connect. Then back to breathing, wait while he returns strikes. Wait some more. Allow in some of the world around me – cool on my knees, thumpthud of bag getting hit.

Ref breaks. Listen to him tell me what I’ve already been whispering in my ear. Nod. Go back to within. Wait. Take pleasure in the bounce. Locked into the second. Then shut it all out. Focus on target. Breathe. Let go. And be. Connect. Connect again. And keep going. Well-timed bursts of passion – not violence – coiled in the core of me for decades, cowering in fear. No fear now. This is home. I glide through the breach. And find catharsis. And find my self. Connecting. Again and again.