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Poetry: Nobody Circles the Wagons

It’s an hour before the first Bills game
of the Covid season and I’m standing out
on the back deck in the concussed sunlight
using my iPhone camera to stare at my face
and give myself a pep talk

it’s okay to admit you’re desperate
it comes in waves
a beer-tsunami throwing lame ducks into your orbit
you come back, you always do
like a ghost haunting the realms of hope
always on a scavenger hunt for that winning feeling

I won’t deny who I am
half my bones are already buried under New Era Field
a sloppy collage of mob mentalities
anyway, I do the sign of the cross and go for a quick walk

today the Elmwood Village doesn’t believe in distance
tailgating parties everywhere I look
the first signs of life in six months
this one house even has an Allen/Diggs 2020 yard sign
it overshadows the Biden/Harris sign
which is right next to it
despite the world falling apart
priorities remain the same
after all, this is Josh Allen’s breakout year
Stefon Diggs is gonna open up the offense

then I start thinking about opening up America again
what it could possibly look like
the offensive line crumbling under pressure
and reality dragging us down
deeper into despair
or will it be the parting of the Red Sea
and a clear path
to what we were promised?

I don’t know, but across the street
this dad and his little kid
are both wearing Bills jerseys
and carrying bags of snacks
they’re gonna have fun
no matter what the outcome

we might not have much
but at least there’s this
for better or worse

then suddenly I feel the spiral zip of sadness
straight into the hands of my heart
because the other day
I talked to my mom
and she told me my dad was sad
we can’t watch the game together
because he’s so immunocompromised
and I still have to be so out here

on my way back home
to watch the game
I walk by the Lafayette Avenue
Presbyterian Church
and I start thinking about how
the only time I’ve seen my dad pray
was during Super Bowl XXV
we lost
and for some reason
I find that unbelievably uplifting
right about now

Written by Justin Karcher

Justin Karcher is currently working from home. Since he is no longer spending time getting to and from work, he is finding some extra time to work on his poetry.

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