He started it all, the Strangler
choking men out with that yoke
of wrist and elbow. My father said
Ed Lewis was the greatest wrestler
of all time, that I was too young
to understand what that meant.
Don’t trust a woman, he said,
until you know how it feels to lose
your breath. His mouth drooped
open, words flitting into dark
before I could identify those
shapes of their wings.
On television, Jake the Snake
posed with his enormous constrictor,
Doink the Clown sprayed Brooklyn
Brawler with seltzer. It’s a circus,
he said. No one appreciates men
like the Strangler anymore.
Outside, I imagined the world
waiting for my father to take it,
break it in three parts—one chunk
for each of us and a knife curved
like my mother. He fell asleep
in the living room and I cracked
a window to let in some air.
About Todd: W. Todd Kaneko lives and writes in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His work has appeared in Bellingham Review, Los Angeles Review, Southeast Review, Lantern Review, NANO Fiction, the Collagist, and elsewhere. He has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop. He teaches at Grand Valley State University. Visit him at www.toddkaneko.com.