release

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escaping

the young athlete in purple and gold was trying to escape
his muscles maxing out in length beneath his sweating skin
each time crawling on knees and palms to reach the outer ring
to safety
every wrestler knows when you reach that white circle, the whistle blows
out of bounds
you get another chance
he was fierce
yes he was
in his determination

the other wrestler wearing the baby-blue and white singlet
continued lunging at his fleeing opponent
baby-blue and white wanted the win badly
purple and gold was trying with all his power to escape

on the other side of the large wrestling mat,
a bulbous-bellied man in a bright yellow shirt
was positioned like the sun
he stood there eclipsing all else around him with
his giant flashing camera and smashing fists
he was a bright star
without the warmth
but with all the heat
loads of hot air bursting out
through a constant barrage of bellows
screaming at the young wrestler–his son
“YOU HAVE TO DO BETTER THAN THAT”
“GOTTA PULL YOUR LEG ‘ROUND FASTER”
“QUIT RUNNING FOR THE RING”
“YOU’RE NOT TRYING”

and secretly, the young wrestler in the purple and gold and I both knew
he was trying
trying very hard
to escape
to reach that white circle
and never stop running
Love Tackleart previously published
unfortunately, this is a true story, colors of singlets were changed to protect the innocent:)

winning and losing

there was a dual wrestling meet last night
all these boys, young men really
hoping their practiced discipline and best efforts
would place them on this side of glory
a raised arm at third period’s end
a personal win
points for their team

quick food, hot coffee and school spirit
we bought an event tee for the big son
I didn’t look at the shirt ’til later
against the black cotton weave
was the image of a handsome, young man
135 pounds
his chiseled arm raised in victory

it was then I realized
the tournament was named after this wrestler
he’d died in a car accident two years ago

and I knew
whether the big son
won or lost
we’d been winning all along

at this time of year
when the magnifying glass
boxes in our hearts
may thoughts of warmth
go out to those
whose children are no longer here
but live on in their souls

Baby Elf

Baby Elf

illustration previously published