A new poem by Greg Bell


Fucking Treadgold would just leave.
Weaving down the wing
with my wickedly thin three year-old Sherwood

poking the orange ball ahead,
look up, and he’s gone. No joke.
Half-way across the frosted lawn,

with the net, ball mitt and extra sticks.
What the fuck ?
It could be overtime, game seven:

Treadgold, what the fuck?
Gotta be home for supper.

And then we’d pelt him.

With snow, ice chunks, and garbage—
with ground-breaking language
that still makes me cringe.

His kitchen-bound Mother
felt it, too.
Fucking Treadgold.

But it was supper-time.
Evening slipped down over our shoulders
like the perfectly fitting jersey;

buzzing streetlights erupted
and snow crunched applause
every slow step home to warm houses

where we’d strip the layers from our sweat-chilled backs,
toss boots, wet gloves and toques
in front of the roaring furnace

and sit down for the first time all day.
In the morning before I thought anyone else awake
I’d look out across the structure-less playground

to the slippery court and see him taking shots.
Ken Treadgold, the prick, with his net,
ballmitt and extra sticks.

And from the pucker in his fucked-up face
it was cold.
And then it was cold.