A small boy in an Everton shirt waves his arms like wings, shimmies down the dunes and kicks a ball across the tidal sands. A huge smile lights his face. He can move freely and breathes the fresh air. It’s a different world from his hospital bed. Some of the players came to visit him, preparing him for what he had always dreamt of. To walk on to the pitch as their mascot.
The day eventually came. The crowd roared. He and his twin sister stepped on to the grass. She carried the ball because he was too weak. She passed the ball to the referee. The team captains shook hands, put their arms around the children for a photograph. They wished the players good luck, waved at the crowd and watched their heroes beat Manchester United 3-1. It was an amazing day, one he would never forget. He fell asleep with a big smile on his face, taking the memories with him on his next journey.
from the stars
you throw us a ball
a thousand smiles
© Xenia Tran
This post is dedicated to the memory of our nephew Jamie Baker (1977-1986) who died of leukaemia hours after appearing as a mascot for Everton Football Club.
An edited version of the poem appears in Between Heather and Grass – Poems and Photographs Filled with Love, Hope and Whippets, a book specially created in Jamie’s memory.
With love from Eivor, Pearl and Xenia xxx
Photographs by Xenia Tran, edited in lr.
Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ200, setting: iA.
In response to Carpe Diem #1180 – Departure
Daily Prompt: Fortune
dVerse Poetics: Anthropomorphasize Me
This poem features in Between Heather and Grass. If you haven’t read the book yet, feel free to take a peek inside: