Was I away
the day they taught the rules
Or was I just not listening?
Looking and not seeing?
Glazed and completely non-engaged
by talk of tactics, strategy,
positioning and passing?
Or was I feeling sorry
for my thin and thirsty pumps,
for my skinless shins,
for my tiny-skirted body
on the winter-weathered chilling fields of horror?
I was never in the right place,
always in the player's way,
inside outside offside wrong side,
unable to manipulate the pain-shaped stick
or see the D line, sidelines, centre circle box lines
underneath the sleet and snowy drifts.
Letting down the team.
Teacher despairing of a girl preferring books
to a backline
words to hypothermia,
letters to competitive
to a turf war I never even wanted.
Hockey wasn't jolly fun at all
but offside is an art form now.