A high school football game is happening
and a bench warmer’s father eats nachos
while he drinks screwdrivers from an aluminum flask,
and when the coin is flipped the official
didn’t have to ask they all knew they would
be choosing to kick off the game.
The band all hovers around a flame that haunts
the front end of a joint and they are passing
it around behind a trailer while the world
just watches everything that moves
under the lights.
Paint in the colors of the arena banners
is spread across the flesh of all who like to say
the only way is victory, but when you ask them
what the rules are they just shrug.
The cheerleaders are designed to evoke the cliché
they practice out there everyday, and still when
the moment arrives they fall short of their promise.
No one cares about the comments made in the heat
of an unfolding play, a kindergarten teacher
from the district uses the phrase “fuck them up”
on a close third down, and when they hold them
at the line the golden defense does their back flips
just for her.
They never make the playoffs but they win
their homecoming game, and every single year
it all works out the very same. The uprights are uprooted
by a wave of small town holdouts that believe deep down
that everything is fine.