Ben Nardolilli: “Memorial Park”

Memorial Park

Three teams of children kick the absence of a soccer ball
Across a field of brownouts, avoiding the broken pottery
And a henge of rusted cars, no one is keeping score
Yet the players aim to make their goals between tires
Arranged into the basic outline of columns crumbling into ruins

They’re using their hands and I use my voice to condemn
The yellow and red card irregularities at play in the field,
Between laughter they say I’m too angry, they say my complaints
Are scattershot with too much rambling, plus I’m not dressed
To ref like the ones they’ve seen in the older books

The children ask me to join them, I decline, the game is long gone,
Red and blue lights paint flashes on the graffiti and rust,
A manhunt spills out onto the soccer field and I run,
Looking back in time to see an officer present the children
With a ball covered in barbed wire to kick in between the tires.


Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at and is looking to publish a novel. 


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