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By Jacqueline Woodson

No one was faster

than my father on the football field.

No one could keep him

from crossing the line. Then

touching down again.

Coaches were watching the way he moved,

his easy stride, his long arms reaching

up, snatching the ball from its soft pockets

of air.


My father dreamed football dreams,

and woke up to a scholarship

at Ohio State University.

Grown now

living the big-city life

in Columbus

just sixty miles

from Nelsonville

and from there

Interstate 70 could get you

on your way west to Chicago

Interstate 77 could take you south

but my father said

no colored Buckeye in his right mind

would ever want to go there.


From Columbus, my father said,

you could go just about

anywhere


Jacqueline Woodson, "football dreams" from Brown Girl Dreaming. Copyright © 2014 by Jacqueline Woodson. Used by permission of Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Source: Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014)

Poet Bio

Jacqueline Woodson was born in Columbus, Ohio and grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and Brooklyn, New York. She is the author of over 30 books for children and young adults. Woodson served as the Poetry Foundation's Young People's Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her family.

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