We Could All Use a Win This Summer

"Euro Cup, 2016" and "Reprise," two poems by Francisca Matos

ball and foot

We Could All Use a Win This Summer

Euro Cup, 2016

Here’s what you need to understand: we all needed a win that summer.
By we I mean me, the boys, my girls and our parched country, our 
sulking land with its hands under the table, crushed knuckles and tanned, twitching knees, a nervous laughter capable of lasting through 
overtime. The hands become fabric become flags calling for the final 
whistle, for joy’s uncontained shrill. And when it finally happens, we 
leave all our things on the floor and exit with just our beating bodies. 
And someone’s voice asks where we should go, and the men on the 
radio clench their microphones, say anywhere, anywhere but home. 



And when it finally happens—because it has to, because, like most things, it is not a mistake, not the wrong call made by the referee’s hands but a real win—the city cracks itself open to me. But I don’t stay. I don’t hop on the bike and sit by the pier until dawn, watching morning creep up in layers of blue, then yellow, then orange. I don’t walk down an expensive avenue making guesses at the price of things, killing time until the first train home, or the next one. Not yet. I go home with the boys, who spend the last half hour searching for me, and who, when they finally find me at a crossroads with a shadow and said bike, the public garden a midnight stage, will absolutely not leave me behind, a girl in the mouth of adventure. On our way back to the suburbs, we weave through fireworks and TV crews and people raising statues for all of us winners. I lay down on the backseat with my eyes closed, the way a child would just to be carried into bed. Nothing costs us the game and there is still time. 

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