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Higgins

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As schoolmates we shared the same count
of years, a ninth-grade teacher, the cracked
sidewalks of our streets. The only wrestler
I had ever known, red-headed as any legend’s
Scottish hero, winning strong before he lost
his spine to cancer. The first I’d learned of such
sorry play, that coward’s stunt — Death
come from behind, pinning youth to the ground.
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by Therese L. Broderick
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(An artist’s statement about this poem appears as the first comment.)

About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

One response »

  1. poetryaboutart

    ARTIST’S STATEMENT about this poem
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    Fact & Fiction ~
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    This poem is an elegy, responding to the death of one of my classmates decades ago, the first time I was aware of someone my own age dying. I remember his affliction as having been spinal cancer. We lived in the same town, but not on the same street ; I intend for the phrase ”our streets” to encompass the town. In this poem, I assume he won at least one of his matches, but I don’t remember for sure. His last name was Higgins.
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    Sound & Sense ~
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    Instead of saying “my age” I use the phrase “the same count / of years” for its resonance with the sport of wrestling. Also because I share the same eventual fate as he : my days are numbered, counted. For its resonance with both wrestling and with a doomed spine, I use “cracked / sidewalks” instead of any other detail about the neighborhood. I use “pinning to the ground” for its resonance with burials. I use “red-headed” to provide one visual image of the boy, a detail which suggests (as it might in a folk tale) that he was marked from the start for an unusual life, a different fate. It’s possible this poem comes to me now because I recently saw an independent film about teenage gang members and protesters, some of whom were unfairly shot from behind by policemen.
    .

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