Andrew W. French
“Hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter we are alive.” – Stephen Leacock
we don’t know.
The dingy rink revived childhood dreams:
a series of skates scratching,
soul-bound blades shaving
tracks dissecting a solid surface.
The last thing he saw:
cold white welcome outstretched
before him, small mesh gate tended
by a padded guardian...
20 unobstructed feet away.
As the gate approached
the guardian’s judgement was made
in the catching of a skate edge,
in the crashing of his adrenaline-fueled form
against the plastic smile of a realtor’s ad
stuck onto the boards
the sound of a bottle of Head and Shoulders
dropped in an echoey shower,
then the same slow roll
to a motionless response,
come the moment
when a mother’s son,
somebody’s first kiss,
a team captain,
is told in futility
by his panicked coach not to move,
as if he is able to.
Incapable of hearing
he listens still, obeys
his coach’s instruction
like a great player should
until he is enveloped in white:
a thin cotton sheet covering the planted corporeal,
a frozen bed of dreams below.
Andrew W. French is a Vancouver-based poet and MA Candidate in the department of English at the University of British Columbia, where he studies contemporary Canadian poetry. Andrew’s poems have previously appeared in a number of journals across North America and the United Kingdom, including The Slippery Elm, The Mystic Blue Review, Snapdragon, Cascadia Rising, Strix Leeds, Symposium, Nom de Plume, Grub Street, and others.