Junior Soccer

You'd think the ball was a germ, the kids
exuberant antibodies swarming
to douse it with will, then finally
punish it toward the orange witch-hats goal.

My friend's daughter doesn't want us to know
she's eager for us to watch her jostle
her little body into the skirmish.
Her hair's an antenna for attention,

but she never turns, having learned to hide
childish reliance on Mom's esteem.
She still can't grasp the rationale of rules
or which of the brawling feet are on her team.

One boy, the coach's son, head-butts
the ball above a small astonished melee
of teammates contending with each other,
the younger kids intent on getting only

some piece of themselves to touch it,
like tongues waiting to catch the first raindrop,
the older ones more focused, their faces
braced: balanced surfaces of water.

The small girl who invited me here floats
to the sidelines, absentmindedly alone,
staring into the trees behind the school,
before she remembers again we're watching.


 



The Atlantic Monthly; November 1996; Junior Soccer; Volume 278, No. 5; page 78.


 

Presented by

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Entertainment

Just In