Balotelli

by Roger Robinson

In between the lilt of your name and your skin like onyx. 
In between the matt curl of an afro and your flaming mohawk,
between jollof rice and pani pizza.
Between the dam of your tears
and the wet chest of your shirt.

In between why always me and leave me alone
between the complicated and particular, 
speaking up and being spoken of;
in between talent and challenge
between cheering crowds and lonely clicks of flashing lights.

That liminal space, that difficult uncomfortable space
between the thud of your shot
and the frictive hiss of a spinning ball climbing the net;
and you running, shouting to your fans
I’ve slayed your demons, now what about mine.