Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

3:33 Sports Short #15 // Talisman by Justin Carter

after Robert Rauschenberg

In the dining room,
my father—tanned
from climbing pipelines
& still young—
clutches a signed ball,
listens to the radio
& the announcer,
each strike bringing him
farther & farther
from his dream—
until it’s over,
so suddenly he doesn’t
know what comes next.
In Houston, there
are tears. What to do
with that sadness?
& nineteen years later,
my own self clutching
a different signed ball,
I watch a small screen
while we go down
four straight games.
Why do we place
such faith in this tradition?
Even now, I wear
the same jersey each night
& blame losing on
how I forgot to wear it,
like my body communes
directly with a spirit
that determines these things.


Justin Carter co-edits _____ On Sports & is a PhD student at the University of North Texas. His poems appear in The Collagist, cream city review, The Journal, Redivider, & Passages North.

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