Vol. 1, No. 3: Slobberknockers & Buttonhooks photo

Poem For The Last Of The Straight-Toe KickersAvery Gregurich

everybody called him dirt because the david spade movie
had come out a few years before and became available to
rent at the gas station in time for junior high football. dirt talked
like him some, but he wasn’t really trying to. if you smacked
your biceps and flexed, you could get him to mess up the lines
he had picked up from being recited at. even the coaches called
him dirt, but i didn’t, mostly because i was supposed to act like
the captain. dirt kicked field goals and extra points, neither of
which we tried for very often. they had held dirt up in elementary
indefinitely, to the point that before kickoff he would get off the
bus in the morning and smoke his grandma’s cigarettes with the
bus driver. one time dirt snuck off mid-quarter to snag a hot dog
from the cheer moms. he always kept his wallet in his girdle. another
time he faced the crowd and pissed behind the bench, trying to hide
the act with his helmet. it was an away game. having many older
brothers, he was the first to melt his skin with a hot pocket knife and
show us in the locker room. now i can’t remember his name, but i can
see dirt lined up after practice between the hash marks, kicking against
the wind and asking all the older kids for a ride home, a place no one
wanted to see. when my dad called and said that he showed up to his
church and got baptized, even he called him dirt. i was just glad to hear
that he was out there, still kicking.