Thursday, February 20, 2014

poem of the day 02.20.14

viviane smith played football

viviane smith played football
with us neighborhood boys in her backyard

it was a compromise we made

viviane’s family had the biggest backyard
in the neighborhood

it was the only one you could play football in
wide enough for slant patterns or to go long

all the soft grass made it easy for us
to play tackle instead of tag
like we had to do out there on the street

there were no cars in viviane smith’s backyard
to stop playing for

of course, her old man didn’t want her to play

he’d sit in the backyard with a beer
he’d yell at us boys to be careful for christ’s sake

she’s a girl, he kept reminding us
as if we didn’t know it

as if none of us had discussions about the tits
that grew over night

the braces that came off that september
the curves that had developed out of mortal flesh

and the new haircut that viviane got
that made her more of an anomaly
doing button hooks or hiking the ball

we did our best to keep her safe
we put viviane in for the soft plays
the kick-offs and punts

the running plays where she only had to block

we tried not to tackle her
but if some wise guy had her go long on third and ten
sometimes we had no choice

then it was a battle of the sexes
male pride in bloom

viviane smith running for her life downfield
with one, two, three of us in hot pursuit

forgetting about those tits
forgetting that haircut

or the fact that when she sunbathed that past summer
we made it more of a point to come around
and sit in the backyard with her

sipping ice tea or cherry coke

imagining less than football glory in those moments
and much more than we were sure to get

from this strange new creature
who’d just bloomed right in front of us

without our knowledge or consent.


No comments: