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Stardom





Stardom





At the football, always a reminder of innocent joy,

a stranger asked if he could sit next to me.

Our talk meandered to a famous team of the past.

I can’t remember what prompted me to ask his name

but I thought his muttered response modest.

I asked him to spell it, to be certain,

this name of a champion cheered at my first game

when I was still starry-eyed with belief.



I recalled a brother, or a son, who played years later.

When I asked about their relationship

he hesitated before saying it was his brother.

He spoke of his own feats, inner sanctum scandals,

deflecting my surprise at how youthful he seemed,

this bearer of a name once lionised by thousands,

his body, though thickened, still strong.

When we shook hands after the game, he looked sad.



Good with faces, I believed recognition had glimmered

despite features fleshed out by the years.

On the drive home I imagined telling my brother,

our shared interest delightfully stirred by chance.

The next morning, I logged on, saw that ex-hero

now frail, gaunt, gravely ill in hospital.

I also found his years younger brother’s bare stats,

bleak compared with the champion’s.  No photo.





   



Ian C Smith 






Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal, Critical Survey, Live Encounters, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania

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