The Hardest Job in Hockey
a true story
Rachel M. Simon

In each hotel room there must be four players in two beds.
A room cannot contain a couple currently romantic
or recently estranged and harboring ill will,
bruised feelings and healing hickeys are violations.

Nor can a room include a player
involved in nuclear heartbreak or tender break up
and the best friend of said player.

All strategies to avoid off-the-ice bruises, tears,
and orgasms should be employed.
The team will leave no pillow empty
traveling only in multiples of four.

It is the Assistant Coach’s responsibility
to assign every away game’s shared bed.

Between sixty-five and eighty percent of players
are lady lovers, although Mary gets carsick
and will stay in the front of the bus
away from flirters. The rest of them
knitting away miles of the wintery division.

The right wing might teach advanced knitters
the chain of hearts stitch or rainy window,
wheat in the field.

In the offseason the Assistant Coach may be called upon
for guidance in the realms of strength training and
helmet-friendly hairstyles. She may ask for a master
key to all player rooms, but should avoid using it.

Rachel M. Simon is an adjunct professor of creative writing, literature, and gender studies at SUNY Purchase, Pace University, and in Marymount Manhattan’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility College Program. Her work is collected in Theory of Orange (Pavement Saw Press, 2005) and Marginal Road (Hollyridge Press, 2009). She lives in Mahopac, NY.

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