Between Pittsburgh and Cleveland

by William Greenway

What you notice first when you move
here is houses boarded like bandaged heads,
the ice-bound ships of empty steel mills,
old people sliding,
rusted cars spinning,
through slush
that packs and blackens behind wheels,
drops and lies in the road
like dead stars.

Next Sunday the Steelers play the Browns
but no one will watch—
we don’t give one hundred and ten percent,
we don’t take one game at a time.
We put on our pants one leg at a time,
and we sit on the bed to do it.
We’re not going to rally
or regain the momentum.

Our sport is getting through the day,
the way in Scotland they run in only
jogging shoes up “fells,” then back down
on paths of stones like bowling balls.

They say, we know this hill
can break bones.
We want to see if it will.

William Greenway is the author of eleven collections of poetry. His most recent, The Accidental Garden, is forthcoming from Word Press. He is also the co-editor (with Elton Glaser) of I Have My Own Song For It: Modern Poems of Ohio (University of Akron Press, 2002). Greenway’s poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. He has won the Helen and Laura Krout Poetry Award, the Larry Levis Editors’ Prize from Missouri Review, the Open Voice Poetry Award from The Writer’s Voice, the State Street Press Chapbook Competition, an Ohio Arts Council Grant, and was 1994 Georgia Author of the Year. He is a Professor of English at Youngstown State University, where he has taught since 1986, and where he has thrice been awarded Distinguished Professorships in both teaching and scholarship.