My papa told me schvartzes
give themselves a bad name
when they dance in the end zone,
I said When´s the last time
you saw a Jewish man make it there?
If he had maybe he´d dance the horah
& grumbling fans who hope the helmet
hides all personality would insist
he quite connivingly bargained his way in.
& this may not have been less than true,
he may have had to negotiate his way
onto the field with cunning wit
& an immigrant´s work ethic to trick
the narrow minds of coaches,
scouts, & analysts who assess
the silhouettes of greatness on the grid-
iron as if their shoulder pads can bear
the weight of prejudice & never buckle.
But how about the triumph
in emerging from the trenches?
Cleated strides—a catalyst for Astroturf
explosions—sending tire nubbin shrapnel
through the air like fourth & July
fireworks, not even vaguely
reminiscent of broken glass.
Every single yard we gain away
from our mutually destructive huddles
is cause for excessive celebration.
Benji Katz is a poet and musician from Cincinnati, OH. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. His work has previously appeared in Prairie Margins, Polaris, Military Experience & the Arts, and Watershed Review.