Copyright is held by the author.

Leaving the field house
He crosses memory’s sphere,
Counts the dull cleat marks
Plowed in the green turf.
It’s raining, but he strikes out
Across the echoes of soccer,
Listens to faint cheers from bleachers
Filled with the ghosts of pom-poms.

It’s come to this,
But his streak has been long coming,
Begun back at a small prairie school
And continuing, school by school
In a downward spiral
He migrated by seasons,
None a championship.

The woman he wanted to keep barefoot
Left him several schools ago.
A letter from her today
Incited this walk with phantoms
Reeking of ointments and sweat,
Whispering jockdom shower curses.
She says she’s happy, remarried,
This time she swears
To a man who actually grew up.
No small feat in America, she taunts.
She scores her points between the lines.

The dampness hurts his bad knee, makes him limp.
He believes all injuries are made worse by weather.
But he struggles on, garbed in school colors,
Passes beneath goal posts
That frame him like a photograph.