He’s a man now; doesn’t kick or pass,
dribble or play a ball any more,
toe to foot to knee to head, his love
of the game faded away.

Thought it would last always, thought the years
of sunlight and wellness would last too,
restless infant gone, substituted
by a gilded child – football, success –

team, school, friends then girls. Thinking of him
then, bloodied knees, a ball, I recall
those opening bars, Nessun Dorma,
that old ice music working its spell,
pulling the crowds, despite gondoliers,
usherettes’ trays, triteness of old TV ads,
overplaying, overworking, over-hyped,
in that time before Diana went, Luciano too,

when Pav was fab and football was king,
when the blue-eyed boy was beautiful,
his demons checked, ice music, football anthem,

music of hope, limitless possibility.