Bio Note: I am a Midwestern high school teacher and Poetry Club advisor. My students and I have been actively involved in 100,000 Poets for Change. I serve on the board of the Council for Wisconsin Writers and I am English language editor for Poetry Hall: A Chinese and English Bilingual Journal. I have published three chapbooks.
McCaskey High School Stadium
For Kurt Ambling around the track with the heat of August almost melting the all-weather surface that used to be dirt, my mind vaporous as the chalky sky, probably thinking I should have pushed myself harder back then, of the way laziness has dogged me my entire life, until football coach Meyers, now with white hair, and still with a whistle around his neck, shows up and I think he’s going to pass me by but he falls into place in the lane next to me and wants to know what it was like up there— pointing to the rows of bleachers rising up from the track, so I start with cool Saturday afternoons, always sunny, and high school kids sitting behind the old-timers with names like Bert and Shorty and how they kept a running commentary the whole game as cheerleaders egged us on to ever wilder abandon, with little kids racing up and down the stairs and the brass horns gleaming in anticipation of the halftime show, and in the meantime, blasting out one victory song after another, and girls shaking red and black pom poms on sticks and now Mr. Rex has joined us in this poor excuse of a jog— Mr. Rex, who used to sell hot dogs in the concrete catacombs under the stadium and cold Coca Cola in waxy paper cups and he wants to know, too, what it was like up there and I remember my history teacher, Mr. Baker, levitating with excitement, his emotions run rampant like the barbarian hordes, and how we clapped and cheered ourselves hoarse and how the best part, the very best part, was when the cross country team burst onto this track amid the cacophony of sight and sound, the runners pushing hard their lean stride— each one having traversed wooded trails with washed out gullies, wide open windy fields, and steep hills split up the side with gray rocky outcroppings— and how the crowd jumped to its feet, the young and the old, Greek grandmothers and debate team champs embracing spontaneously, as the runners closed in on the finish line.
©2022 Sylvia Cavanaugh
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