The Pirate Anne Bonny Does Not Care about Football

You say it’s the heat, the sunglasses that puddle
            from noses, glint in rows like sunfish, a flip-drip

school drying in hot air, but they’re going for it

            on fourth down so you drop your jaw like you mean

to swallow a helmet whole, a groan to drown

            the signal caller, the veins in your neck slung

with wind, with blood, stuck under a sweat-logged

            tangle of crimson and the sound still pumping

out of your mouth like a whale’s stale exhale

            and after the linemen launch their face-mask crunch

I see you stretched across the field like a sail,

            riding the thin wire of the TV cameras up

to the empty corners of the upper deck, licking salt

            from the freckled ears of wrecked boys, clipping letters

from their chests and giving their dates high fives

            that shake their sunburnt cleavage because the D-line

held like leather, and now we’re in the red zone

            so you zip-line down to the head cheerleader,

his brawny arms waiting for your boot poised

            in his hand while you kick the other foot

to your forehead and flash the club-level seats,

            a downpour of whiskey and water on the toddlers,

and I can tell we’re about to send a short pass out

            to the flat, thumbs of our slight new slot receiver

meet at the seam on the underside of the ball

            before you tuck it and break for the end zone

no touchdown celebration raucous as the spangle

            you throw while they slap your shoulder pads,

a somersault shimmy that has the referee sprinting

            down the sideline to clutch a sliver of your jersey,

empty and crumpled in the painted letters because

            you’re already traipsing out the tunnel with a fistful

of championship rings, the running back’s diamond

            gleaming in your nose, you stop by the trophy case

to lop some gold plate and help yourself to spiced

            rum from the liquor lockers, a perfect spiral,

an orange scorch, electricity and shattered glass

            of every blinking bulb the scoreboard has.

Dorsey Craft’s debut collection, Plunder (Bauhan 2020), won the May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize. She is also the author of a chapbook, The Pirate Anne Bonny Dances the Tarantella (CutBank 2020). Her work appears or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, the Massachusetts Review, Poetry Daily, Southern Indiana Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She is currently a PhD candidate in poetry at FSU and a poetry editor at Southeast Review.