Today's poem is by Tom Sleigh

World Cup

In all the cafes
on the seafront
whatever could be seen
kept exploding in riots

of blue, red, green—
horns everywhere hooting
for the ball soaring
toward the net.

Slicks of trash
and plastic glinting
from the waves, the world
was in a fever

to see the perfect goal,
the giant screens
on every corner
loud with the locust thrum

of satellite hookups.
Between two limestone cliffs
I plunged into the filth,
sucked a mouthful

of oil
and set out
swimming hard
to where I heard

rising voices
shouting in Arabic
Score Score.
A big wave swept

me under,
another and another,
until I shot out
of the water that gleamed

like a forehead butting mine,
expert but without malice
threatening to drag me down
until I slid out on the rocks.

I shivered, and wanted to live
in the clear light
of the announcer's voice
echoing in different languages

weaving a net so fine
the sun could pass through it—
yet you could see
in instant replay

the ball and caught and caught
and caught, and not one stitch
of that fabric
going taut.

Copyright © 2011 Tom Sleigh All rights reserved
from Five Points
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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