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By Louis Jenkins

I take the snap from the center, fake to the right, fade back…

I’ve got protection. I’ve got a receiver open downfield…

What the hell is this? This isn’t a football, it’s a shoe, a man’s

brown leather oxford. A cousin to a football maybe, the same

skin, but not the same, a thing made for the earth, not the air.

I realize that this is a world where anything is possible and I

understand, also, that one often has to make do with what one

has. I have eaten pancakes, for instance, with that clear corn

syrup on them because there was no maple syrup and they

weren’t very good. Well, anyway, this is different. (My man

downfield is waving his arms.) One has certain responsibilities,

one has to make choices. This isn’t right and I’m not going

to throw it.


Louis Jenkins, "Football" from Nice Fish:New and Selected Prose Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Louis Jenkins.  Reprinted by permission of Holy Cow! Press.

Source: Nice Fish:New and Selected Prose Poems (Holy Cow! Press, 1995)

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Poet Bio

Louis Jenkins is one of the contemporary masters of the prose poem. Born in Oklahoma, Jenkins has lived in Duluth, Minnesota, for over 30 years, and his work is regularly featured on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion. His brief, accessible prose poems use humor, wry observation, and hypothesis to tease out the absurdity of everyday situations. In his poems, Jenkins maintains a tight focus on the mundane particularities of ordinary existence, using deliberately flat language to comic and often heartbreaking effect.

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