A funeral bell rings through the darkened stadium:
everyone in the stands knows what comes next
as The Dead Man makes his way to the ropes.
a terrifying presence clothed in black trench coat
and wide brimmed hat. His cold eyes strike fear
into your favorite wrestler. Just like that,
he enters the ring.

Did you know that he’s The Undertaker
because he’s the one who escorts
the souls of dead wrestlers to hell?
I don’t remember how old I was when
I found out that wasn’t actually true,
but I don’t think it mattered. I still felt
every Tombstone and chokeslam.
Every pinfall, the anxious One. Two. Three.

I didn’t stop practicing signature moves.
My brothers would stay put for me as I
fly around chairs with a 619 that
willfully whiffs; the four of us launching
each other off of couches that served
as the ropes for our Swanton bombs
off the top cushion. You couldn’t win all the time,
so sometimes you had to take the pin so that
you could keep playing, but we were never playing.
We became wrestlers just as jabronies, heroes, and heels.

Sean Beatty is a writer from Raleigh, NC. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill where he completed an Honors Poetry Thesis. His poems have been published in Burning Jade Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @SEANW0WW.

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