For the chance, his chin took it

The tape takes minutes;
    The slip-off a second;
        Sweat and musk and
Chill is as breath to his bruises;
    The callus and the leather
  Sigh in the ache of air.

  For the chance, his chin took it;
His heart hefted an arm,
    The long-shadow watched it
  Come ‘round as the
Passerby pivot-paused
    And, through glass and glare,
  Saw all his hurt hunt the dodge.
But one blow
  Brought down that burden-pain
    And yesteryear-pang:
Buried by rippling rope,
  It crumpled away.

  The tape took a lifetime;
    The slip-on years;
Scars and scraps and
        Hope were as courage to his fear;
    All hell and its hunger
Fainted on rarefied air.

  For the chance, his chin took it.

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