“Ten Years After The War” by Travis Cravey

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The tickets are free, first come
first served. Outside the stadium
there are the wanna-be’s, grilling
meat in their jerseys, throwing a
football, pretending that, if fate had only
dealt a different hand, they, too, would
be out there. There are screams as
the players enter: our proud team still
clean before the whistle blows. They
have trained their bodies and minds for
this moment and they feel ready. The other team will
fall, effortlessly, to our superior strength.
I can still feel the pads, the armor on
my body, feel the holy communion
of running towards the opposing players,
urging my team-mates onward, forward!
Victory! My memory does not allow
the hits, the pain, the anger, the confusion.
I want to be out there still. They’re
just boys and they don’t understand
what’s happening to them.

Now I sit in the bleachers.
I’m not allowed on the sidelines anymore,
Much less the field.

Travis Cravey is a mechanic in Southeastern Pennsylvania. An editor @malarkeybooks and @mythicpicnic, he’s had stories in a few places. He’ll show them to you if you’re interested. 
Twitter: @traviscravey