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J. K. Durick is a retired writing teacher and online writing tutor. His latest writing project is writing a poem a day during what seems like this endless pandemic – it’s in the two hundreds now. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Yard, Black Coffee Review, New Feathers Anthology, Synchronized Chaos, Madswirl, and Highland Park Poetry.


Trigger Warning

I watched them play in empty stadiums,
empty seats being just that, empty seats.
Football even on this level can seem childish
at times like this, the players playing to
rows and rows of no one. A few cameras
try to play their part, catch the players’
performance, the pass, the run, the dance
after they score. The cameras let them
posture and pose and rarely show the empty
stands to help the illusion along. Some
places they play crowd noises, so players
feel the game, the ghost fans cheering them
on, but the soundtrack rarely gets it right,
fans out of sync with the action smudge
the daydream of it all, this spectators’ sport
without spectators. Even the announcers,
the play-by-play guy and color commentator
are home somewhere, feet up, like mine,
pretending to be there, up in their booth at
the top of the stadium, always joking about
the weather and numbers, yards of this or that.
Pandemic football is played this way, fills
my empty afternoon, like empty stadiums
get filled with sound effects and camera angles,
and gives the illusion that something that matters
is happening.

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