Journalism in Verse – EST. 2016



in Culture/Sports by

Who doesn’t want to be
the argued over GOAT
like Serena, LeBron, Tom—
greatest of all time
in other words? Fans love
to champion their champs,
chomp at the bit to weigh in
on who is better, who
is best. But no one
wants to be the one dropping
the perfect pass, choking
the clutch but easy shot
as the clock runs out. Clocks
always run out. How bad
I’ve felt for goats, like Wild Thing
over twenty years ago
in Toronto throwing himself
into every pitch, throwing
himself off the mound
and throwing away a World
Series with one fastball.
And now a lean kicker hangs
his head like a baited bear
succumbing to the dogs,
crowd howling jeers on him
for a kick that would have iced
the game, but strayed left,
hit the upright, dropped
to the cross bar, then
bounced backwards, worthless.
He looks as if he could kick
himself, then a teammate
far bigger than him, takes him
in the crook of his thick arm
and cradles his head. Oh, the goat
knows nothing of the jugular
and carotid pulsing in its throat,
though maybe wonders why
this hour, this field. The shift
from all’s fine to shock is sharp
and swift. The goat doesn’t see
the blade, just feels it suddenly
the moment before its throat is slit.




Matthew Murrey is a poet whose writings have appeared in various journals such as Tar River Poetry, Poetry East, and Rattle. He received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry a number of years ago, and his first book, Bulletproof, will be published by Jacar Press. He is a high school librarian in Urbana, Illinois where he lives with his partner. They have two sons who live in the Pacific Northwest

Image by Martin Reisch.


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