The one with the leaves peeking from behind the laughing bruise blossoming under my kneecap, the surprised look on my eardrum, as it pulses red in a nest of baby rabbits barely stomped by soccer cleats at the goal line, my shock scissor kicked. Giggles sewn into the seam of the ball as it sails overseas. As my name is chanted to the tune of pop songs that make their way into fists closed and raised in a half remembered cheer.
It’s my last desire, really, to have a universe full of likes and shares and wear a fuzzy fur coat like a bear as I smile on pluto with a back pass to venus. We are on the same squad, and we don’t like sitting on the sidelines too long, although the dandelions grow very nice there. But the leaves, they grow into chipped places under my fingernails so easily, where the paint was black and then blood red and sparkly glitter with smiles like diamonds.
So by game’s end, the only score is Forest 1, Dirt 0, something like the beginning of a conversation between laptops. The lines on the field circle my head and whisper corny jokes in husky voices, remind me of my frowning homework in languages that sort of sound like guitars, or maybe flamingos flying across skies littered with steaming satellites, swamps streamed through my speakers, their sound so light green, it’s maybe a buzz in my ear buds that swarms with those little flies that cloud each player in this funny league as they drift to the goalposts, crowded little suns in their own separate solar systems. They glow because the numbers on their backs and in their veins are painted in neon colours.
But actually, that’s me, too. I am a movement since I was studying happy bugs deep in the ground between roots of willow trees. I never know their names, for true, but willow seems about right, branches both shady and relaxing a droopy and nice to use as whips to sketch faint scars of the backs of siblings on long trips, but it’s all pretend and mostly for show like the egg rolls and sticky buns and sweet and sour chicken balls my brother put under his spell in a buffet. They were magic because they seemed to cost nothing, and their trees were bamboo shoots, and good things steeped in their plum sauce, and that was me, also.
Sunlight snapped its fingers as it caressed the soft steel of my trunk. We have been friends since the first grade, and that seems like about a second ago, or maybe a bunch of lifetimes. Who knows? Sunlight is so random. But, I know I need it more than air and rain, more than shin pads that blend into my leg muscles and make them ache to kick as high as I can. To laugh out loud with the vines, the grass, the chainsaws that never seem to get the jokes, even the dogs that leave messages on me and fire hydrants, their pee a social media so simple and warm.
And that’s a fact, as foul as it may sound, as foul as the whistle that forms a chorus in the key of B minor as a midfielder pulls my hamstrings from behind on a pitch black field, smelling of hot tar or diesel smoke, it wrecks my day but I am still ready for the next play, at the centre of the world but somehow still watching from zillions of kilometres away on the sidelines again, and I guess you could say, well, that’s me.