“The Cup is Half Full” by Judith Terzi , published inThe Poeming Pigeon: Sports, released in May 2019 by The Poetry Box, has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize.
Please enjoy the poem, and feel free to leave a comment.
The Cup is Half Full
I rooted for México in the Group Stage
since our team never made it to Russia,
though Russia made it to the USA. Hard
to keep track of points the first round,
sort of like keeping oligarchs straight
in the Mueller probe or remembering
“Veselnitskaya” if you need to. Watch
humanity on the screen—blended roots,
races. Liberté, égalité, dualité. Dualities:
the colonized, the colonizer harmonizing
fearless wish. A choreography of hope.
Telemundo’s rolling out the Rs, trilling
Rodriguez, Rojo, Ronaldo, Radamel.
Prolonging the ecstasy of G….O….A….L
for as long as a human voice can hang on
to a vowel. We stand up in our den, yell
like maniacs. In the den of my childhood,
a big Philco radio bellowed Phillies games.
My father taught me to pitch a softball.
Now I live with a soccer fanatic from Chile
who knows zilch about popouts, grounders,
bunts. So I’ve had to absorb a few things
about fútbol. Like there’s a biter on the team
from Uruguay they call el vampiro who
plays for Barcelona with Lionel Messi. And
Brazilian Neymar used to play for Barça
but was traded to Paris Saint-Germain
for a megaton of bucks. He’s the most
expensive player around & the most
histrionic: Just whisper sweet nothings,
he’ll fall to the ground & roll around.
I know the reasons for a corner kick,
penalty kick, free one. And I get what
offside means. Sort of. I still can’t predict
when a goal will not be a goal. I miss
Zidane on the green, his presto dance
for France. But they won without him.
The Copa is a breather from politics.
Sort of. All four of my grandparents fled
the pogroms of the Tsar, their trunks
bursting with prayer shawls & sacred books
& silver cups for sweet red wine & blessings.