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Red Grange Sitting on Bench

As a kid I tried to coax its coming

By sleeping beneath light sheets

Weeks before

The funeral of the summer locusts in the yard;

Then when Granny peeled down the crucifix of

flypaper that dangled from the ceiling of the

kitchen

Magic wasn’t needed any longer

To fill the air with pigskins. The air itself

Acrid, lambent, bright

As the robes of the Chinese gods inside their

house of glass

In the Field Museum by the lake.

Even practice could be fun—

The way, say, even sepia photographs of old-time

All Americans could be pirates’ gold

Like my favorite Bill Corbus, Stanford’s “Baby-

Face Assassin” crouching at right guard, the

last to play without a helmet on—

And the fun of testing muscles out

Like new shoes; the odor of the locker room

pungent

As the inside of a pumpkin;

And the sting of that wet towel twirled against

bare butt by a genial, roaring Ziggy, Mt.

Carmel’s All State tackle from Immaculate

Conception Parish near the mills;

And then the victory, especially the close shaves,

could feel

Like finally getting beneath a girl’s brassiere

She’ll let you keep

Unhooked for hours while you neck

Until the windshield of your Granddad’s Ford V-8

Becomes filled by a fog

Not even Fu Manchu could penetrate. Jack,

Next football weather my son Luke will be in high

school,

Bigger than I was and well-coordinated—but

Couldn’t care a plenary indulgence

If he ever lugs a pigskin down the turf

Or hits a long shot on the court. At times, I wish he

would.

So he might taste the happiness you knew

Snagging Chris Zoukis’ low pass to torpedo nine

long yards to touchdown

And sink archrival Lawrence High

45 years ago come this Thanksgiving Day. Still,

He has his own intensities

As wild as sports and writing were for us:

Luke’s the seventh Rolling Stone,

His electric guitar elegant and shiny black

As a quiet street at night

Glazed by rain and pumpkin frost.

Football Weather - Pete Carroll

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