Was it just another save?
Another imprint on the end of the defence?
Silence in the anti-spectrum of the shot?
Pink and purple tattooed the open-ended face
proudly substituted for the first mask,
blotting out the condescension of a goal.
Not that we ever pondered on a goal,
for we condescended just as much with a save.
Not that you would have seen the eyes in the flesh of mask;
I reckon our own defence –
those privy to their partners’ open-ended face –
would be hard-pressed to see the squint behind a black-eye-candy-coated shot.
Broken cheek? A battle scar for which we thanked a shot.
Still you wouldn’t know a save for a goal
on whatever canvass wrapped our face.
No elation notified the cheap seats of a save
and no beauty greeted the defeated defence,
beat and bailed out by the cheek bone of a mask.
Our chins and jaws were like nuts saved to cash in for a nutcracker. See, the mask
embodied many parts securing an inevitable parting shot.
The most poetic constitution couldn’t author a defence
against the crime of a back-breaking goal.
No spine remained to sport on any subsequent save;
by then, a saved puck didn’t save face.
Circumstantial artistry defined the degrees to which we chose to face
the so-called facts. Some have said a mask
wasn’t donned to save
our senses from a spiteful shot
but to make generic the reaction to a goal.
Some wondered, are we nursing team or psychological defence?
Colour any black and white system of defence
you tend to lean to after going face-to-face
with the physical salvation of a goal
and the alternative. How many would decline a mask
when the alternative is the despondent draft from a shot
snuffing out the stoic glory of what’s never just another save?
Maybe my retirement will render the dimensions of defence relative behind the mask.
But retirement will not quell the need to bear my face in the presence of another shot:
frozen rubber set aflame by the friction of a goal against a save.
(Cover art: In The Crease by Ken Danby)
1 12 13