Will They or Won't They?: Cecile Meets a Boxer (New Way to Bleed)

Title: Cecile Meets a Boxer

By: Tochi Onyebuchi

Song: New Way to Bleed

Artist: Evanescence

Album: Evanescence

Listen to the song of inspiration here

Tochi- Cyborg_Arm_by_Nads_designs.jpg

(‘Cyborg Arm’ by Nads-designs on deviantArt (http://nads-designs.deviantart.com/art/Cyborg-Arm-173065735))

Cecile Meets a Boxer



Today, I fixed a man

Whose pain receptors

Were missing.

He wanted them back.

I asked him why

And ‘oblivion in pain’

Is what

He said.

The closer each impactful


Brings him to death

The better it feels.

Plus, parts are expensive

To replace.

‘Defects enhance me,’

He said.

But I can heal you,

I told him back.

Why? Is pain a

Warning? A

Caution against damage? A

Thing to run from?

Why not

Make it a thing to

Run towards?

A reminder

That we are alive?


I watched him fight

And the men changed in my eyes

From things to be healed

To things existing in their own right,


Their own genre of joy.


He taught me

That athletes are

Unknowable in the midst of their


While he sleeps,

I plug into his brain

And I watch his fights.

The ones stored in his mainframe.

I do this to diagnose him

When he wakes

But also to sneak fugitive peeks

At his engine.

To see the android not as machine

But as animal.

To see the world from behind a busted retina

That makes the world look

As it would

From behind frosted glass.

‘I fight till I can’t

Anymore. Then they

Send me here.

Then I go back out

And I fight till I can’t

No more.

Then I come back.

To you.’

That is when I find the name for it.

For the tightening

In my chest

Whenever I sit down to compose my entries

To you.

That existential reaching,

That absence,

That void somewhere between my stomach

And my lungs.

The stiffness in my fingers,

The shortness of breath,

That flushing in my face as my capillaries


It’s pain.





Like a poem

Whose form resembles the claret

That leaks from a newly opened wound.

Tochi Onyebuchi is a professional student whose academic interests are merely a clever disguise for his storytelling impulses. By day, he is a first-year law student. By night, he writes fictions. He can sometimes be found window-shopping PhD programs. His blog is a virtual chimera of his interests in cross-border smuggling, literature and New England. He tweets on occasion @TochiTrueStory.