Fireball Feet, A Poem by Chris Russell

Playing touch football in the field by our house

my feet turned into fireballs.

They didn’t singe the grass

because they were made out of a special kind of fire

that was so hot and fast it didn’t leave a mark.

I’d burn past anything that tried to capture me,

whether I actually was the end zone or not.

Or I could stand on the sidelines

and scratch my head and make faces

at the players wearing my jersey,

and believe just by standing there

looking like a dick

I had generated a larger version of myself.

Forgetting I wasn’t part of it, was part of the magic

of rediscovering how I was the whole of it,

like the time I went to basketball camp

expecting them to keep me at guard when

I found I’d been assigned the position of a forward

and found myself stuffing a center two feet taller than me

between beads of my sweat that seemed to hang in air

like I’d broken time over my knee and would never land.

Besides wanting the freedom of an astronaut,

I wanted to be a point of view

that was always my acknowledging

I could never see the point of time

when every moment became of past without

a handle to hold onto,

every so called opportunity

a wish to slow down and take myself back.

People are like flowers,

or say all the things they have to say

and do all the things they have to do

to get their ground just right

so that one day just like that

they find themselves alone in a field of unknowing

and start to open and can’t stop opening,

even when they don’t want to, even if they’re a sociopath,

the sun and rain that helps a flower grow

is really just a metaphor for how happiness and sadness both

help us grow up and be kind and realize we can’t help it.

We’re not our shame and guilt. No matter what,

we’re impossible and good and too beautiful for words.

And I believe that. I do.

But I also believe silence is a metaphor for prayer,

and that people are like a lot of things

including everything they think they’re not like.

Man is a location.

What I’m asking for is a way to go there.

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