(1955 / Glasgow / Scotland)

The Shirt

Afterwards, I found him alone at the bar
and asked him what went wrong. It's the shirt,
he said. When I pull it on it hangs on my back

like a shroud, or a poisoned jerkin from Grimm

seeping its curse onto my skin, the worst tattoo.

I shower and shave before I shrug on the shirt,

smell like a dream; but the shirt sours my scent

with the sweat and stink of fear. It's got my number.
I poured him another shot. Speak on, my son. He did.
I've wanted to sport the shirt since I was a kid,

but now when I do it makes me sick, weak, paranoid.

All night above the team hotel, the moon is the ball

in a penalty kick. Tens of thousands of fierce stars

are booing me. A screech owl is the referee.

The wind's a crowd, forty years long, bawling a filthy song

about my Wag. It's the bloody shirt! He started to blub
like a big girl's blouse and I felt a fleeting pity.
Don't cry, I said, at the end of the day you'll be back

on 100K a week and playing for City.

User Rating: 4,7 / 5 ( 5 votes ) 8

Other poems of DUFFY (29)

Comments (8)

A wonderful poem made out of a simple concept of a shirt. Beautiful poem.
her poems are horrible
I am intrigued with this. I think I shall have to reread it several times to get exactly what is going on. But I think he feels unworthy to wear his team's shirt. I like the set-up, the story element, and the way it ends. I do want to read more by her.
very nice poem, depicts a sports person's sorrows quite well, when things are not okay...
That poor boy. We shouldn't mock the afflicted. Only 100 grand a week. No wonder he's miserable. Nice work
See More