“Long Shot” by T.R. Poulson

T.R. Poulson


for Rich Strike

I have been the player benched
at tip-off, game by game, watched nets dance
with leather, felt the storm and wrench
of clumsy. I defied it. Made my chance
in cones lined up on pavement. Only
the sun to coach my feet, my hands.
I have been that lonely.
I have sought bouquets of crimson roses,
hid beyond the slides and swings at recess,
played in fields, held my princess poses
among the calves. I have worn a dress
and asked a boy to dance, as Sony
speakers belted love. He didn’t say yes.
I have been that lonely.
I have drained a three point shot, the one
that glitters memory like waves curl to sand,
felt all of that and more in a man’s hand.
I kicked, slapped, not knowing I had won
everything. When the long shot bites the pony
after he wins the roses, I understand.
I have been that lonely.

from Poets Respond
May 15, 2022


T.R. Poulson: “After winning the Kentucky Derby, 80-1 long shot Rich Strike tried to bite the lead pony. This poem is in response to comments by his trainer, Eric Reed, after that bite seen around the internet. The form of the poem is an imitation of one of my all-time favorite poems, ‘Her Kind,’ by Anne Sexton.”

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