American Games

In memory of Sidra Hassouna, age 7, Rafah

February finally came,
Superbowl ’24, we
gathered our resources–
time, money, glittering lights–
hot wings and commercial breaks.
All eyes on the score.

The Alligiant Stadium in
shiny Vegas–whore of
capital and the
empire’s chores–
where the Chiefs met the
49ers that day, while
hustlers backstage
dealt in dark trades;
streetwalkers out front
seducing us with talk of
Taylor watching Kelsey
at his best.

All wondered, would she
kiss him on the field?
She wore a diamond
silver chain that
fell on white skin.

It was all about the win.

We woke in cloudy air,
chicken bones
haphazard on the floor–
hotel rooms wet with sheets
from last night’s fun, we
check our phones for
reflections on the game.

A mix of images
twist in logarithms like a
funhouse mirror-
here’s one of the
half-time show,
next a reporter, lipstick bright pink:
“Overtime was a nail biter!”

And then pops up men near
a broken wall–a foreign, far-back
pointing to something
broken above and
hanging too high for
them to reach.

Our eyes adjust to what a
half-a-girl looks like–
her brown hair falling in
front of the cloth that’s stuck,
fixing her against the
crumbling rock.

Her legs dangle like
shredded pink yarn–
her only necklace her
mother’s dead arm.
And a glint of silver light
illuminates the wall behind.

Nicole Lombardi is a high school English teacher and writer who lives in Oak Park, Il. She has work published in Mindful Word, English Journal, and Beyond Words Literary Magazine. Read other articles by Nicole.