Matt Mason

From Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know. Backwaters Press, 2006

One guy jumps out of a car and strips to red briefs, swinging his pants
around his head and howling; the face-painted guys jump off the pickup to

trade high-fives in traffic, a champagne bottle gets handed out a Buick window, horns a-honkin’, red people running around cars and steaming
on a January midnight.

Cops on horseback wade through the red flags, above even the hooting wildheads riding
on someone’s shoulders like big-ass Jesus on Saint Christopher’s back braying “Go Big Red” with a few thousand of their closest buds;

cops guard the traffic signs so they won’t become souvenirs: some lean against squad cars
kinda smiling, some visibly tired and on overtime. We scream and flow,

take pictures, hug, throw beer cans, climb light posts, slap hands,
greet, grunt, and though we are Nebraskans and so keep most of our clothes on, we do
think wildly that if all of Omaha gets naked what can they do?

My fingers stiffen like garden hose
but we all keep slapping and celebrating throats raw because we damn well can and
no one’s gonna be on time to work in the morning anyway, woo hoo!

When I was a kid, I didn’t dream about writing poems; I wanted to play I-back for the Huskers. Now I’m a lot older, more experienced;
and I still have four years of eligibility left.

Poem copyright Matt Mason, used here with permission.