The Empty Net

What I saw on the flushed
and sweaty face of my son
as he waited for the throw-in
 

was the giving up of himself
to the play of the play and
the boundaries of the field
 
and the exact position of
his friends so complete and
generous and brave that it
 
was sadness bursting out of
me like cheering, it was grief.
For sacrifice like this no
 
honor is commensurate, no
moment sufficient. The shadows
would have deepened even if
 
he’d won the game, the mothers
and the fathers folding up the
lawn chairs and hurrying home.
 
Sleep would have come in any
event and with it the darkness
and the dreams, the ball shooting
 
back into the ropes again and
again, falling and falling into
the empty net. Oh my beautiful
 
son, I never would have given
you up so freely, I never would
have given you up at all.

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