Brother Football

for Sam

You’re the bicycle kick in extra time
every time you enter a room–

back of the net or ballooned
into the stands. Pumped up

with a tough exterior, you’re subtler
than you let on, the dummy

or nutmeg that sees you caught, mid-
action, centre stage for the frantic

ninety minutes. But I remember you
with the fondness of kickabouts,

rough and ready as jumpers for goalposts,
the pair of us stood in the week-long rain

of the long summer holidays.
Deflated, weathered, all but done,

you always picked yourself up.
You always played on.

Ben Wilkinson

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