Football’s Coming Home, by Stella Wulf

Researchers at Lancaster University studied incidents of domestic abuse during World Cup matches in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and found a 38 per cent rise on days when the England team played and lost, and a 26 per cent rise when England won or drew – Newstatesman

You’ve been practicing how to pitch it
since you lost the first round; since
I take you, and, to have and to hold,
bitch, became his anthem.
Despite your best defensive moves,
pre-empting kick-offs, fending fouls,
obeying rules, you’ll still be beaten.
There are no equalisers in this mismatch.
You’ve learned not to tackle,
playing for time in the corridor
of uncertainty. This is a home game,
he’s in possession of screen and beer.
You huddle on the sidelines, sick
with fear that you’ll be picked on.
A poor substitute for the real thing,
you don’t bounce back. A skin sack
with the air kicked out concedes.
He inflates your uselessness with lager shots,
conflates your existence with bad luck,
pumps himself into a premier striker.
It’s a game of one half, the playing field,
uneven. You’re getting trounced.
The penalty – extra time for injury,
it’s his set piece – he’s bringing it home.


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