April 9

You find yourself, again
at the door
to the gymnasium,
heavier than any. You recall when
you were small, before
you bled from head to shin
on this floor,
when you knew the score
as a sign to drum your feet and roar.

You’re here again, not to win
some game. You’ve come
to thumb a broom,
lift the dust that’s still thin
on this saddle-wood floor.
You’ve come to end a war
that started here. It’s been
too many years. The roar
of the crowd’s gone numb.

It’s dumb
really, that we adored
so much our scrums,
that we poured
our blood into some
hollow room whose decor
has been
the same for
a millennium.

You’re
here, and hear the drum
of every ball, roar
of each crowd stored
in the bleachers, some
on the bench, some
in the lockers. It’s been
a lifetime, and you’re still plumb
with each polished board.

Here. Where the score
never changes. It was dumb
to come here. What’s stored
in this room is best left in one
of those lockers. When
that’s clear, lay the broom
against the crook in the corner
and slam again
that metal gutted door.

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