Homecoming game – a poem by Sahana

This is the most poetry reading I have done since my twenties. Poetry of my daughter. I couldn’t be prouder. This is another of her poems I loved.

Homecoming game

Sure, they were singing; they always sang when the band pulled out old favorites.

Stinking jackets sticky with the hot lights of the field and face paint dripping down,

Screaming “Sweet Caroline” with all the tender finesse of a feral pack of racoons.

The thudding percussion, ringing loud through bared teeth and war cries

Pulled tight collars tighter to ward out any threat of wind,

Arms and tongues loose at every play and every call,

Voices sprinkling from above over the field before the game was even over,

Hot summer rain of what was meant to be support, but left a chill in the bones, a tickle in the throat —

It always felt brand new, every home game. Always felt like the suffocation was the fun of it,

That the ritual of limp hotdogs in starched yellow buns were some tradition to be maintained,

Long lines for shitty food and wolf packs on the prowl stalking the sidelines,

Side-eyeing the team and the pep parade held aloft by their short skirts and bright bows.

The sweat of the stands pooling below the bleachers, school spirit into school swamp,

Some cigarette ash could blow them all away, and it’s not like it hadn’t been tried, once.

Tired hands on a barrel, confetti in school colors stuffed tight into the chamber,

The press of familiar weight on slumped shoulders, a voice saying “Give it here, son,

“Don’t do something you can’t take back,” and a quiet release. But the drone of the announcer

Wails on, ambulance screams at every missed tackle, at the crushing force on a field of dreams.

Hopping back on matchstick legs for a shot at the victory sign at the end of the field,

Winging hope to heaven on high, recruiters silent, stone-faced, with his dad in the stands,

Chewing on fingernails and debt dethroned, a lump in his throat. Sleep scorned eyes

Seeking out ready arms, quick prayers, a Hail Mary, for an end to an already long night,

Shade cast over the firm set of his jaw, steady breathing, quick movements.

And a quiet, suddenly, a chill falling in sooner than he knew possible.

Lights off, stands empty, field ripped up and muddy. Sure, they sang when they knew the words.

When the band, electric and flowing, hazarded the first few aching notes.

The sun was a surprise, she mused.

Not unwelcome, for the chill it banished, but a surprise still


Tired Times – a poem by Sahana

Sahana has been writing a lot during the pandemic. She shared some poems with me and gave me permission to share with the world. Here is one.

Tired Times

It’s been hard to leave my bed,

Not because I’m depressed,

But this time because emerging from the cocoon of warmth without a shell,

Kafkaesque, to protect the softest parts of me,

Means I risk getting hurt, tearing something on a sharp edge,

Loose threads being tugged away without my knowledge or consent,

By the news or the flashing screen of my phone, lighting up with notifications

That just bring me dread now, honestly, after years of craving their validation.

It’s the shit I don’t wanna see, don’t want to know how many we’ve lost,

Don’t want to feel the weight of the lives we’ve built crumbling before my eyes,

Feeling like my metamorphosis was forced into an untimely pause.

I had been blooming into something, I’m sure of it.

Something bolder, the way I had always hoped,

No chip on my shoulder, learning how to walk again,

No hand holding this time, there was no need

No pressing expectation holding me by the throat and pinning me to the wall,

Rather, gentle hopes, laying me down, soft hands holding cheeks,

Looking me in the eyes and telling me I could.

But she couldn’t stay, hope was needed in other people’s hearts and I had a home to go to.

But when my mother, father, brother, huddle outside my door and ask to be let in, I can’t speak,

The pincers in my mouth choke down any cries for help and

The weight of my body pulls me through my bed on the floor,

Devastating dreams and I want to wake up,

But I know waking means looking in the mirror.

Waking means seeing that it’s real.

It means, knowing and going through the same paces,

Wanting to live the life I had in my grasp and had taken away from me.

I pace in a liminal state, subway station, under the earth,

Waiting for the character development or even better, an eventful end.

But the dreams don’t stop and the living doesn’t either,

Almost at the break of dawn at every turn, but the sun slips back under the horizon,

So I sit with the tired times, and wait for a new morning, sometime.