A Poem by Ada Limón - Believer Magazine

Sports

I’ve seen my fair share of baseball games,
eaten smothered hotdogs in Kansas City
and carne asada burritos in San Francisco
in the sunny stands on a day free of fog.
I’ve sat in a bar for hours watching
basketball and baseball and the Super Bowl,
and I’ve even high-fived and clinked
my almost-empty drink with a stranger
because it felt good to go through something
together even though we hadn’t been through
anything but the drama of a game, its players.
If I am honest, what I love, why I love
the sounds of the games even when I’m not
interested, half-listening, is one thing:
When my father and my stepfather had to be
in the same room, or had to drop my brother
and me off during our weekly move from one
house to another, they, for a brief moment,
would stand together in the doorway or
on the gravel driveway and it felt like what true
terror should feel like, two men who were so
different you could barely see their shadows
attached in the same way, and just when
I thought I couldn’t watch the pause
lengthen between them, they’d talk about
the playoffs or the finals or whatever team
was doing whatever thing required that season
and sometimes they’d even shrug or make
a motion that felt like two people who weren’t
opposites after all. Once, I sat in the car
and waited for one of them to take me away
and from the backseat I swear they looked
like they were on the same team, united
against a common enemy, had been fighting,
all this time, on the same side.

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