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Sport 42: 2014

Chris Price — The also-ran

page 244

Chris Price

The also-ran

stamps his tiny, Olympic-
sneaker-clad foot. To be un-
recognised even among the un-
recognised is a permanent stone

in the shoe; however high
he jumps it travels with him
describing his cartwheels and
arabesques in perfect stony silence

an unlit sparkler tracing his name
invisibly against the night.
Will no one offer him a light?
Obliged to huff and puff

while others ascend the slopes
on gilt chairlifts dangling idle feet
he labours upwards, slashing
at the bushes as he goes

scaring the birds and skewering
bright leafy foes. He doesn’t feel the dirt
beneath his toes, only the sneaker’s
synthetic sole wearing thin

at the inner corner of each heel.
Arriving at the skyline sweaty
and red-faced he finds the party
has moved on to a secret

page 245

location where, he’s sure,
the nectar of the gods
is being served in silver cups
by fetching maidens clad

in scanty robes. Is he not
the son of Hermes? Do not
the wings embossed on his uppers
authenticate him so?

The view up here’s sublime but
he’s not looking. Breathless, he hawks
a gob of phlegm into the dust
pulls out a ballpoint and begins

to compose, with lengthy annotations,
his orchestrated litany of woes.