Vol. 2, No. 3: The Goal Line Extends Through Infinity photo

Three PoemsKatie Darby Mullins


When I was a kid, I knew time

Moved slower on football fields

But even then, assumed it perception,

A failure on my part to understand 

Space and time. Tonight while

I watch the second tick and stop

In a box at the bottom of the screen,

I pray for more time, the clock

To grind to a stop, for out-of-bounds

Or fast-spiked balls, a quarterback 

Literally controlling the universe,

Bending physics to give themselves

Another shot to stay alive, to throw

Or run or kick into history, to hold

Not only the win in their hands, 

(In our hands. The fans let moments

Sift through our fingers at the beginning

And then clutch our fists in solidarity

In the end) but to succeed, for a minute

At stretching life a little further, at

Driving toward hope between ten

Seconds and two. 




For years I’ve echoed you in triumph

—don’t try me with some sorry receiver—

because even at corner, your hands

were fast and your legs faster. I love


fire and poison combusting into joy

the way you play football like chess, angled,

defensive. Now you host Thursday games

and I watch more for your commentary


Than the game itself. The night the Broncos lost

your eyes, widened with anxiety and frustration

mimicked your words, “Learn from your mistakes!”

It’s been a hard time for all of us, Richard. 


I have lost things I cannot count or explain,

even though my Cowboys are having

a winning season. Teammates and friends can be so

complicated: it was like for a moment, I dropped


back in the pocket to see the field

and there were no holes in the coverage 

and instead of handing it off or getting rid of it

I allowed myself to be sacked for the loss. 


Then I rewound. I watched your face, your hands shaking. 

Learn from your mistakes. Come on, man. 

Learn from your mistakes. Sometimes I need to learn

To let go before I take the hit. Let go.



Portrait of Ballet as a Fistfight

—it’s all beautiful lines, angle/control
The extension, the bowed back, the feet
Always bleeding into wooden blocks 
Disfigured, lovely. When I was a girl
I was so flexible I could swallow
My own heart and still smile. 
Ballet is camouflage for a woman 
Like me, someone who can throw
A punch or stick a landing. I called
My sister today: she’s a kickboxer
And I needed to know if our genes
Are feral. She’s never hit someone in the wild. 

Lace up the toe shoes and wait for extension:
This is how you count backward from ten. 
This is how you watch a spot on the wall
In pirouette so you don’t get dizzy. 
This is how you uncoil the tightness
(It lives electric in your fingers) and while
Your sister learns to protect herself
You dress in the soft hues of femininity
With ice in your paralyzed face, “relaxed,”
Blood rushing through your ears—
                   — first position.