New York

He Shoots, He Scores!

Near the goal, head sunk into his shoulders
as he sprints, Chinaglia takes the ball
spat at his feet,

dribbles it around a thatch of yellow shirts
and, sliding between the legs
of two defenders, belts it hard

into that caged, invisible something
beyond the green reason of the field
into the netted calm no one enters.

The home crowd’s ear-splitting rant
grows seismic. Screams blur
to wind howl and cymbals.

A jig-step. Chinaglia raises his fists
as laurels. In a walking faint,
he gallops round the pitch,

leaping, as if lovesick,
into Marinho’s arms, leaping
to the hypnotic boom of the crowd.

—Diane Ackerman
“Soccer at the Meadowlands”

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