Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Mario Lemieux

Waits for the puck in a New Kensington living room.
The wall poster action shot above a worn out couch.
A woman bends down to sweep her carpet with a broom.

Dog hair, Dorito crumbs, torn receipts. I wait
with tools to be told where the broken sink is.
“That was 92" she says. "Their second cup.

Third period. I was there when he scored the game winner,
banged that puppy right in.” I walk past toys, strewn clothes,
a ceiling fan dangling by the wires and kneel before the porcelain God.

A cracked sink and faucet that screams burning hot water or nothing
at all. When I leave, the new sink shines like a full moon in the dark
of burned out lamps, the unswept dirt of pizza crusts and Legos.

Mario on the wall, looming like a ghost on ice, before the shot.
Before any goal could save a city. In town, the buildings I pass
fade into a wet blur. Flecked with rain, the businesses stripped

of names, boarded up glass, soaped up or duct taped.
Nothing open but a bar and a bank, Citizens
flashing alive in neon.

No one here will scoring anything tonight, but maybe a little weed,
a six pack after work and the game on tonight, the ice
cleaned of its scratches and cuts, made new,

TV’s filling our rooms with blue light, a chorus of screams.
That hunger we don’t want to name.

-- Bob Walicki