at the soccer field as the last game of my daughter’s season nears its end

“And the coaches take hesitant steps onto the field…”


by brian doyle

hear the tides of cheers from the next field,
And turn to watch the end of that game also,
Hood River against Mount Tabor, it ends tied
And goes to a shootout, & the shootout ends up
Tied also, and it goes to sudden death and a girl
From Hood River absolutely hammers her shot
Into the remote galaxy of the upper corner and
Sprints mad ecstatic into a howling sideline sea,

But the Mount Tabor team is sprinting wildly out
Too onto the wet field, racing toward their goal to
Envelop their weeping goalie, they pour from the
Sideline a green and white river of girls with their
Arms yearning for their friend fallen to her knees,

And the coaches take hesitant steps onto the field,
Not sure if they are welcome in the moment or if
This is a team thing or a girl thing or what, and the
Moms and dads and kid sisters watch quietly too, &
I stand there in the mud between Fields One and Two
Sobbing so hard I have to go hide in the PortaPotty.


Originally published:
Issue Forty
December 2005


Brian Doyle is the author of six books, most recently THE WET ENGINE, about hearts and all. It’s not bad. Among his awards and such are (a) a woman married him, (b) the Coherent Mercy granted them three children, and (c) he was named to the 1983 all-star team in the Newton Massachusetts Men’s League, which was a really tough league, you drove to the hole in that league you lost fingers, one time a guy drove the lane and got hit so hard his arm came off, but he was lefty anyway and hit both free throws. Supposedly he then left his arm in a toll booth basket on the Mass Pike but that might be apocryphal. More from Brian Doyle can be found in the Vault of Smoke. (bio/2005)

Brian Doyle was the author of many books, including the sea novel The Plover, which has, no kidding, music printed in it, not to mention Mink River, Martin Marten, The Wet Engine, and more than we can recall.  He won the 2017 John Burroughs Medal for distinguished nature writing for Martin Marten, which was plenty cool and much deserved.  Brian passed away peacefully at his Lake Oswego home on May 27, 2017. 

More, much more, from Brian Doyle can be found in the Vault of Smoke.


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