Charles Flowers


Boys on a field—
             a cold clear light
washing over them
             as they move,
shifting lines & circles.
             I watch their legs bend,
their arms curl
             each other’s waists,
bands of muscle & bone
             which join & break
away easily, quickly,
             a tackle made.
I smell the film of sweat,
             watch their faces flush,
through the mist
             of their breathdesire
stretching through me,
             the way a canvas rips
pulling & tensing
             until stitches burst.

I want to join them,
             as their bodies meet & hold
with a shameless pain
             yet I resist,
knowing how I would drop
             a pass & bruise
against the ground
             beneath their heaviness,
which I fear
             as much as emptiness
after another’s embrace.

             What I want
to know is how they can gather
             as one, a tumble
of arms & legs,
             then walk away
             to themselves,
as if untouched
             by all that flesh:
the way a man
             will cling to a woman,
pushing her away
             & falling through her
into his own



“Football” first appeared in Puerto Del Sol.