The Receiver’s Belief in the Long Pass RSS

The Receiver’s Belief in the Long Pass

19 April, 2019: The Receiver’s Belief in the Long Pass


The Receiver’s Belief in the Long Pass

by Geoffrey Polk
I tore down the street to catch the bomb,
impelled by the thrill of the football falling
into my outstretched fingers, a modest glory.
Over my shoulder I looked to time its arc
but it was on my other side. I pivoted
and tripped on a manhole cover, went down
snapping my wrist on the hard asphalt.
Six kids, with parents distracted by the daily
struggle to keep us fed, alive, we were
on our own, the masters of making do.
My brother made a splint from a metal plate
from the broken down VW van
in our backyard while my mother found
a neighbor to drive us to the hospital.
We waited for what seemed liked hours.
I stared at the weird angle of my wrist,
the radius and ulna both broken
but I kept my nerve, nonchalant
when asked how I felt. I’m fine, I said
when they set the bone, set the plaster
encasing my arm for the rest of the summer.
Was that the start of my indifference
to other pains? If I said I’m fine,
then it didn’t hurt if I believed it.
No problem. I’ll make do. But it went
too far. I forgot the glory of the long pass,
the touchdown’s grace. Instead I asked myself,
in the end, what’s the big deal?
“The Receiver’s Belief in the Long Pass” by Geoffrey Polk. Copyright Geoffrey Polk, 2018. Used by permission of the author.
Geoffrey Polk writes, plays jazz saxophone and clarinet, leads school tours at the Cleveland Museum of Art and teaches English composition at Lorain County Community College. He is currently working on a bildungsroman and poetry collection. He continually wonders whether he’s spread too thin. His fiction, poetry and nonfiction have appeared in several publications and include interviews of Ken Kesey and David Foster Wallace. You can also look for him at the Lakewood Public Library or coffee shops, where he hurls words in hopeful abandon at blank Word canvases.


Write an epistolary poem (a poem in the form of a letter) to your younger self, at a very particular age, telling yourself something you wish you had known then.

Don't do it!
Fat-Free won't help you lose fat
Lay off the carbs, lessen the sugar
Your face and waste will thank you
4/20/2019 10:43:49 PM

Gentle and thoughtful poem. I like it!
4/19/2019 11:27:00 AM

Chuck Joy
Beautiful. Deep and musical.
4/19/2019 9:20:30 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.