Volume 12 • Number 2 • Fall - Winter 2020

Marc J. Sheehan

Professional Wrestling Declared an Essential Service

even if the performance takes place in an empty auditorium, the wrestlers going through the motions of their violent ballet without the usual cheers, hisses, boos, and restless tide of handmade signs, a TV commentator trying to induce excitement, to further the narrative of the performers’ contractual fates, to advance the elemental story of loss and redemption, good and evil, hope and despair, sadness and triumph and oblivion, but managing only to highlight the over-acting, as if this was a gladiator match staged by community theater, or a recreation of creation with celestial beings draped in rayon capes, the fallen ones costumed as Halloween demons. Disbelief is easier to suspend in a crowd amid the smell of spilled beer and the din of voices that merge into ecstatic wordlessness. Otherwise, there’s only spring snow falling on crocuses as we gaze out despondent windows – therefore, these ridiculous Miltonic angels slammed to the canvas. Without them, we would be left with only the struggles going on inside us.

Marc J. Sheehan is the author of four poetry collections, most recently, Minor Late Empire Diversions, from Celery City Chapbooks. His flash fiction has been featured on NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction series and Selected Shorts. A chapbook of his flash fiction, Dissenting Opinion from the Committee for the Beatitudes, was published in 2019 by Etchings Press. He lives in Grand Haven, Michigan.