Friday night, lights out at home
because everyone’s at the football game
where the lights are brighter than a thousand living rooms
Like a pagan ritual the crowds chant in unison
for gladiators in the arena
placing their hopes and desires on shoulders of untrustworthy, fickle giants
subject to the whims of fate,
the angles of trajectory,
the variations in the weather.
The real action’s not on the field anyway,
it’s in the stands, the bleachers, the lines at the restrooms.
dress up, dress down, either way you’re getting judged by your peers
and found lacking, or deemed desirable.
The same groups that sit together at lunch are bunched up
under the stands, hanging out by the concession stand
or broken up and forced to stay with their parents,
who cheer louder than the students for a school they left twenty years ago.
It’s a community, not just for a few hours surrounding a football game
but the days and weeks surrounding the season
when you run into the coach at the gas station and smile
but only if it has been a winning season.