This poem is dedicated to Lucero Rodriguez.

We worked in the same office for a few months.  Because of Lucero, I went to my first boxing match.  At this point she was already a Golden Gloves champion.  When she started working with us, my bosses, Lucero, and other co-workers would talk about boxing all the time.  I learned about boxers from the older adults who would start reminiscing.  Names I’d never heard of like Jose Mantequilla Napoles  I enjoyed these conversations since I’ve always loved boxing and was a big fan since childhood of boxers like Roberto Duran, Roy Jones, Jr. Oba Carr, Oscar De La Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Johnny Tapia, etc.  Even when it came to video games like Nintendo’s Mike Tyson’s Punchout or Sega’s Evander Holyfield Real Deal Boxing.  I became so interested in boxing as a kid that I agreed to join my Dad to train with boxers at the Northeast Tobin’s gym where I played basketball.  It was a small box of a room.  I got no where near the real training boxers had to endure, and already it proved too difficult for my skinny, long, and weak frame.

Lucero spoke often about her love for the sport and a fight she had coming up when she worked with us.  I even got the chance to go to Carolina gym with my boss to see her spar and to meet some of the other young people she trained with.  Lucero was adamant about us going to support her fights.  Every day, “you better go to my fight!”  So I promised to go.  Since I like taking pictures, I thought it would be great opportunity to document my first fight and our champ at the office.  It was exciting to know we were rooting for her not just cause she’s from El Paso, but because she was a part of our family at work.  Ever since going to Lucero’s fight, I’d go on to support other boxers as well such as Jennifer & Abie Han, Antonio Escalante, David Rodriguez, Austin Trout, and other up and coming fighters.

We lost Lucero Rodriguez in January to an act of violence far from her El Paso home.  Though I hadn’t spoke to Lucero in a while, I’d see her from time to time at a couple of boxing events.  One day I also saw her passenger side, window down, of the big suburban that her family drove.  It would be parked sometimes outside of our building when it was time for her to go to school or the gym.

I’ve thought of Lucero and her family often these past weeks.  Though I’ve read messages of peace for her rest, these words are intended to represent for life she shared with us during her bit of time at the office.  Til’ the next round.

Round 1

Child of the sun city

in our Earth, visible, smiling

with a youthful kindness

bright and shining that day

for a young girl

in a professional world of office employees

you made it cause you could make it anywhere

especially here

the 1st one

everyone saw in the morning

with an illuminating hi

waving as people walked by

to clock in like bells to begin their round

you were alive & awake

far too young to be boxed into work

that forgets how to view life

through youth like you

unafraid of a job description you fit you

an unorthodox style that split time in the ring

at school and with us

Our boss introduced you as a Champion

LUCERO RODRIGUEZ

with a mean left

yet so nice you laughed it off

shaking our hands with gloveless love.