JIMMY

I remember

His name was Jimmy

We went steady my freshmen year for a term

but he cheated on me with Stacey Levine

so I broke it off

He didn't care

He was captain of varsity football

Best Quarterback Canton ever saw

When he needed to pass history to play

Coach wrote a letter to Principal Lynch

and Jimmy got a C

Saturday nights he drank bud talls with the team

and talked big about his future

but that was all before the bum knee

Years later he dropped out of State

cause what was the use of sociology or trigonometry

When living with his old man got ugly

he got himself a room downtown

above Frank and Vinnie's

It became a ritual once a year

the night before Thanksgiving

a bunch of us would get together at Big D's

and there were Jimmy's initials

carved into the bar

and there was Jimmy

talking way out there to the full moon

about that one Turkey Day game in 83

10 degrees. 2 seconds left

everyone clapping in mittens

drinking Schnapps from thermos cups

huddled like cattle

their white breath spelling his name

Jim-mmy jim-mmy, jim-mmy

That year we won the championship

That night Jimmy lost his virginity

The next day he made the papers

But that was decades ago

and everyone's memories were foggy

no one cared to listen

except the whore at the end of the bar

who always took him home

Nowadays Jimmy runs a newspaper kiosk

outside the deli at Haymarket

He reads the sports section and talks

with people who don't know him

then takes 2 subways and a train

back home to see people who know him

but have forgotten him

People have forgotten him

And forgetting might be

the cruelest thing we do to each other

Jimmy's got no kids to teach football to

and he talks about maybe coaching someday

but the knee, you know, the knee

He still blowdrys what little hair is left

He wears 2 layers of sweats

to stay warm at Thanksgiving day games

and the knee

he still wears the brace

so he won't forget

He'll never forget

It was 10 years since my last visit.

It was good to see the old field

and Jimmy

"How are you?" I yelled on the sideline

near the cheerleaders

"It's me. Marianne from High School."

"Shit, hey, yeah, sure, Marianne," he said

taking a haul of his cigarette.

"You remember me?"

I couldn't tell if was a question or an answer.

Smoke streamed out of his mouth.

"Of course I do Jimmy, how could I forget."

He smiled and agreed taking a long haul

as if it was his last

ever

then he flicked it

hard

back to the stands

back at the people

at their mittens and their thermoses

like screw all of you for forgetting

and turned to his whole body to talk to me