People came from far and wide to feast it with their eyes.
Before their offices became phantom limbs, they left early
to rush the gates, group by group by group, as many now
as the NYC morgues, and not a foot apart. They pushed
through turnstiles to be patted down, meaning the guard touched
the person’s shoulders and chest and back and torso
with their hands, danced round their waist, down their legs like water
until they were declared safe, meaning free of weapons or liquor or food,
never disease, then the attendant took the ticket right out of their bare hands
not washed red, ripped it, and they snaked inside and lined up
again, pressed like waves into rocks, and waited to buy food
they ate without washing. They handed the cashier a bill,
who slapped it into the register, stripped other bills from its mouth,
slapped them back into the person’s palm, and they smiled at each other doing it.
Then they all sat down.
Shoulder to shoulder they watched the players move an object
across or through a line or wall or net. The people who did this best were athletes,
and what people loved about them was how they used their hands.
How they held and grabbed and pushed and passed and slapped and caught.
They used other body parts too. Drove their shoulders and heads
into each other’s shoulders and heads. Bumped, kicked, headbutted,
elbowed, pretzelled into one another in curious ways. In some sports
they slammed their whole bodies against one another until their brains
didn’t work. Not all of it was allowed, but it happened.
When they stuck their asses into each other’s groins, even bigots cheered.
But it was mostly their hands.
The people watching admired the movements so much they expelled droplets
out their mouths into the air on and around and over
the skins of their neighbours. They palmed their faces. Arms shot up like lightning
bolts to make contact. They stood and smacked their hands together (high five).
Paid costumed fans (cheerleaders) threw each other into orbit. A gymnast
dressed as an animal (mascot) did a flip, touched a railing, ruffled a kid’s hair,
then another kid’s hair, then another’s. Popcorn fell from their mouths
onto each other’s clothes. Sometimes they shared food. They brought their families.
Then a horn sounded.
People bodied out the door, happy or sad depending
on the winner, though the result didn’t matter to the world.
Citizens associated with the winning didn’t get money or infrastructure
or better schooling or small business loans. They just went outside maskless
and walked home. If it was summer there was basketball and ball hockey
in cul-de-sacs, kids in playgrounds swinging towards the edge
of the world, teens splayed on blankets swigging from the same bottles
of illicit alcohol. If it was winter people skated clustered circles around the rink. Through all this the people walked. Through parking lots and sidewalks
and roads, over grass and concrete, up and down and to the side,
they owned the entirety of the landscape, they walked together,
some holding hands.