The Pugilist’s Daughter
Poetry, 2021 - Creative Writing at The New School
Blue jade Press, May 2022
From “THE PUGILIST IN TWELVE ROUNDS”
When I was eight years old, my father taught me
how to box and I have been sparring my way
into and out of his corners ever since. In one
of the hundreds of boxing articles he imposed
on my memory, I once read boxing was like math,
calculating angles. I was destined to fail his beloved
Geometry because I had it all backwards, he said.
I believed in metaphor and meter the way a boxer
believes in footwork and timing. Boxing, angles, tennis
dodged my southpaw. Forty-Love. The pugilist
is winning. I don’t know how to break his serve.
What comprises home? How do we reconcile our past? When do we forgive? With precision and insight, Judith Antelman looks back at the labyrinth that was her childhood. Through poetic forms, The Pugilist’s Daughter harnesses exhilaration and loss. Part celebration, part lament. Travel on this journey that begins in Judith’s hometown, and shifts landscapes as far as the west coast, Central Europe, and home again.