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Championship Season

the bench
is red, with flaking paint and splinters
I sit hugging my knees to my chest
watching the girls in plaid skirts racing past,
blurring my eyes so they are no longer individuals
but pieces of a swiftly churning machine.
I am next to the water jug.
My job is to fill plastic cups
with water so
that when the athletes limp off
I can hand them a drink.
the coach paces by and I sit up
and she addresses me but it's only
to ask me to retrieve ice from the med kit
for our injured star.
I am a spectator who conditions
with the team.
I am an unequal equal.
I am
a benchwarmer.

12 August 2001