Youth Hockey

Youth Hockey

The silver metal stands have an ice culture, too.

Some dark and prickly thing,

Having screwed itself into my psyche,

The flesh of my childhood,

Climbs up out of me, elbows first

Summoned by the cutting glance,

The condescending eye

Of a vapid “esse” disconnected from

The nature of grace.

What has unhinged them from anything higher,

These pedicured creatures wrapped in fur high up

In the stands behind me?

Will they really kill to see their child enter a spotlight

No one else can see, but so many here seek nonetheless?

Success, earned or not, how does it trump goodness?

Is it that they really conspire, the Narcissus dripping off them

As runoff from a ruptured gutter seam; pushing

People off the ladder as they claw their son’s way

To their own unrealized glory?  Their own demons chew their way

Out.  Is my prickly thing any more righteous?

Probably not.

A shrill shout – “Go Joe!” and then that “look” pistol- shot right at me,

A cheerleader clique hit job, a monkey-beating of “I’ll show you” go-Joes,

Firing down at the shmuck parents, gauging our reaction, my reaction,

As if to say, “Top that.”

Is it that they conspire behind those eyes, a need to make us things?

Or do they peg me as less significant than that?

Is real love soluble in youth hockey?

O, how much I

I doubt it.


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