Two Poems by Brett Hursey
In the waiting room,
he thinks about the first time
triumph turned to trauma
in his life -

the way he had slipped through
a crease narrow as a birth canal,
broke clear of blockers,
and popped untouched
into the backfield.

He was already dreaming
of pep rally cheers
and his wife's fragrant,
cheerleader hair
before he launched
his body across the punter's leg

and felt the ball rocket
like the space shuttle Challenger
up into his cup.

It was the first time
he experienced the temporal joke
God plays on men -

the split second it takes
for pain to break through
all the brain's blockers -
just enough time for a man
to consider how things
suddenly go so utterly wrong

when he blocks a punt with his testicles,
or watches the panic well up
in his wife's eyes during a midnight
ride to the emergency room

where he notices
the wall clock has fumbled time -
seconds tumbling from its frozen hands
as his mind tears itself away from
the miscarried memory of the game

and focuses on the doctor
whose hand lies on him
like a shoulder pad,
just before the linebackers
and sympathetic relatives all pile on.

Planet Fred

There's a world
out beyond Pluto
I want to name "Fred."

He likes living on the edge -
orbiting the fringe with the other
Kuiper Belt delinquents,

sauntering through a cosmic
trailer park cluttered with debris -
asteroids and comets up on blocks,

deep in the weeds
of the Sun's backyard.

Fred's the kind
of hard, icy world
who stays up all night,
drinking Bombay gin
and picking bar fights

until the Hubble Telescope
finally pins him down
with a blurry mug shot,
and proclaims

he's not worldly enough
to amount to a planet.

Brett Hursey