Loss, or One for Josh Wildman

Most of the big moments
are moments of loss. A father 
dies. A child is penalized.
In my senior year we went
to penalty kicks in the quarterfinals
against the Blue Blazers. Coach
named me an unlikely addition
to the first five unexpectedly, for
in practices I nailed lower left
side netting goal after goal precisely,
left leg like a piston. Like a machine.
In the real PKs I booted and
the ball sailed between the field
goal posts above and beyond the
soccer goal. There it vanished.
My moment of glory. Like a duck
dying in flight. Before I kicked
a teammate interrupted my lone walk
from midfield to the spot, getting
in my face to say whatever you do,
don’t kick it over. And so I never tell
this story without including him.
This is the way of loss. Of failure.
It helps to have someone to blame.

Steve Henn wrote Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year (Wolfson 2017) and two previous collections from NYQBooks. He’s been a finalist for the Rattle Poetry Prize and he read a poem as a special guest poet at Divedapper Festival 2018. He teaches high school in Warsaw, IN.

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