He roams down the hall, lost and listless
like other first day students with campus maps
stuffed in their pocket, his black and gold varsity jacket
puffed out like armor, as though he’s still on the field,
where cheerleaders screamed his name,
his jersey number painted on their cheeks.
Players half his size labored forward like lame oxen,
unable to stop his touchdown plays.
Now he ghosts through crowds at a school of 20,000
where no one knows his name and his coach barks,
Move your ass, boy. Quit fumblin’ the ball!
When he finds his class, he slouches in the back,
vanishes inside his coat, its letters washer-worn,
his threaded number and name faded and frayed.
Brian Fanelli’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Boston Literary Magazine, Harpur Palate, The Portland Review, Solstice, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Red Rock Review, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere. He is the author of one chapbook, Front Man (Big Table Publishing), and his first full-length collection will be out in 2013 through Unbound Content. A resident of Pennsylvania, Brian has an M.F.A. from Wilkes University, teaches creative writing at Keystone College, and recently enrolled in Binghamton University’s Ph.D. program. He is also a contributing editor to Poets’ Quarterly. Find him online at http://www.brianfanelli.com.