Indoor Soccer

The schedule is filled with the monikers of predatory birds,
each waiting their turn to swoop onto the field, talons flailing
with the pride of their uniformed 8-year-old torsos.

My son races after a ball passed down the line and it is unclear
whether he is hawk or hare, eagle or salmon. In the rafters,
house sparrows perch and call, occasionally flitting high above

the players below or landing near the snack bar, their wild dignity
pawned for a spilled bag of popcorn or a stray chip. I’ve read

that in airports attempts to rid the terminals of birds have proven
ineffective – the sparrows bathe in the decorative fountains,
ignoring raptor calls sounding through the PA system to frighten them away.

Maybe it is a steely courage that surfaces in the face of being confined,
or the bravado that flourishes because, at least here, the only predators
are maintenance workers with too-short nets, riding escalators up

in futility. Maybe the tiny birds are models or mascots, hopeful miniatures
of the great ones outside, right now taxiing toward the clouds.

Nov. 9, 2013

One of 30 poems in 30 days