A permanent home and museum for poets and poetry

Poems by Gibson Fay-Leblanc

Hockey Dad

by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

Once you have ice blocks for feet, icicle fingers
and a lump in your throat to tremble your body
with cold tomorrow, you doubt the sanity

of waking at five, the eight-year-old on ice
by six, blades carving shapes you can’t name.
And when your boy looks through his coach’s face

on the bench, red cheeks, a fire in each wooded
eye, complains about tripping, that number
sixteen with the black mask, says he’ll hound

and chop him down if he has to, you doubt
this game. At the hour you venture into the warm
room to thaw out your spine and hear a father

break down his son’s backhand highlight spinner
in a voice loud enough for all to hear
you know the annual backyard ice sheet

was a bad idea. But also remember
all those hours with your friends and brother—
legs pushed until muscles wailed, then sang,

knocked down, scrambling up again, skating
the last tenths off the clock, down, up, bearing
each sore ounce, each breath and every

sinew, humbling yourself to rules of a game
and the flawed eyes of a referee—and then ask,
Is this such bad training for what is to come?