The rung wide
receiver forgets why
he set his keys on the football field.
Whose are they? he asks—a ringing
in his ear—while clenching
the green. As if on the edge
of a pool, he tilts his head to drain
water out of his canal.
It was like that, all the time,
after. How many fingers?
he was asked, and not to tell
a lie—it would mean his career.
It would mean recognizing you
without your jacket when you
walked out of the room. It would mean
you could say, Stay here
with me, and in his eyes
could watch him come back.
I spiral the parking lot, singing,
It’s alright, I’m alright,
while I count the pole lights back
to my car. I practice red, table, lamp
with a neuropsychologist and now
I can tell you about how my brain
blew in the acceleration. I was in
a locked position—the details
unbearably clear in the replay and, still,
no one else heard me swallow
the impact. Bend at your hips
from your two-point stance and, there,
the muffler is a finger wagging
one one one inches from the ground.
The tire-less car rests on its crutch
of blocks, the windows a crunch
of glass. Are you feeling the rush now
as you look to me, your brain still
in your head—is it still in your head?
Can you point for me where
it happens in the connection, where
on the line the old equipment
resets itself and loops?
Is what you say the truth?
Copyright © 2016 Janine Joseph. Used with permission of the author.