The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Mardi Gras

A Boy Juggling a Soccer Ball
By Christopher Merrill

   after practice: right foot
to left foot, stepping forward and back,
   to right foot and left foot,
and left foot up to his thigh, holding
   it on his thigh as he twists
around in a circle, until it rolls
   down the inside of his leg,
like a tickle of sweat, not catching
   and tapping on the soft
side of his foot, and juggling
   once, twice, three times,
hopping on one foot like a jump-roper
   in the gym, now trapping
and holding the ball in midair,
   balancing it on the instep
of his weak left foot, stepping forward
   and forward and back, then
lifting it overhead until it hangs there;
   and squaring off his body,
he keeps the ball aloft with a nudge
   of his neck, heading it
from side to side, softer and softer,
   like a dying refrain,
until the ball, slowing, balances
   itself on his hairline,
the hot sun and sweat filling his eyes
   as he jiggles this way
and that, then flicking it up gently,
   hunching his shoulders
and tilting his head back, he traps it
   in the hollow of his neck,
and bending at the waist, sees his shadow,
   his dangling T-shirt, the bent
blades of brown grass in summer heat;
   and relaxing, the ball slipping
down his back. . .and missing his foot.

   He wheels around, he marches
over the ball, as if it were a rock
   he stumbled into, and pressing
his left foot against it, he pushes it
   against the inside of his right
until it pops into the air, is heeled
   over his head--the rainbow!--
and settles on his extended thigh before
   rolling over his knee and down
his shin, so he can juggle it again
   from his left foot to his right foot
--and right foot to left foot to thigh--
   as he wanders, on the last day
of summer, around the empty field.


After breakfast and a couple of episodes of Vicious, I had to say goodbye to dementordelta on Tuesday morning as she was finally able to get out of the snow and go home to Virginia where apparently she got more snow than we did. (Apparently she caught a cold, too, but that is not my fault -- none of us had it first! I blame her co-workers.) The rest of my day involved catching up on work, laundry, and all the usual excitement around here. Adam had no school and apaulled worked from home, so I had lunch company, though after lunch I drove Adam to the high school so he could help clear snow from the track so the team can run on it tomorrow.

We watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which is not succeeding in making me care about any of its characters and really needs to work on stronger personal arcs rather than some vague blather about the Clairvoyant and wanting the scientific secret to immortality. Then we caught up on Almost Human (apart from the glorious bromance, a bit of a letdown for a season finale, but it better be back) and Beauty and the Beast (unwatchable -- remember when that show passed the Bechdel Test because the women once in a while talked about something besides which boy Catherine should be with? And we had veggie gumbo for Mardi Gras dinner!


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