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Coming tomorrow:


  He's on the soccer field,
head-butts the ball
high over the out-reaching goalkeeper
into the open arms of the net,
a silent basket. He pumps the air.
He's lifted up
on the shoulders of his team mates.

Then he's swimming. Breast stroke, butterfly.
Full lengths of the pool. His sleek muscle splash
white-capping. Each breath above the water
like gulping in a whole building. Fast.
Faster than the rest. Hits the end wall
with the slap of his hand.
Goggles off, looks up
at the digital board for his time.
Yes. Hand into a fist, up.

He blocks the shot,
slides across the ice. Times it
to hit his shin pads,
watching out for his face.
Recovers the puck, finds a hole along the boards
like a path through the mountains.
Blue line, centre line, blue line.
Breaks past one defenseman, then another,
holding back his opponent's stick with one hand,
and with the other, one-handed,
he scoops the puck
up into the top corner of the net,
just as he's pulled down.
Hears the roar from the crowd.

I watch him play. He gaits, clutches,
struggles to barely make it
from room to room,
muscles being eaten away.
Talks to himself: Yes! All right!
Waves his arms in the air
to nothing.

I can read his mind.

from new poems
Copyright © Jim Slominski