Interviewing Wayne Gretzky, Hartford, 1980 · Barry Peters

He doesn’t look so great,
a tired pale blue suit
slumping around the mall
alone in the afternoon
like he’s just been fired.

Later that night he goes
to work carving a sheet
of ice, the puck soft
on his blade, the bad
guys left in cold dust,

and after the horn
he sits on a bench
in the locker room,
bowing his feathered hair,
steepling his fingers,

mumbling answers
to a mass of inquisitors
of which I am one,
a saprophyte trying
to suck something

out of this teenager,
maybe cook up a quote,
taste that greatness,
put food on the table
for a child of my own.

Barry Peters lives in Durham and teaches in Raleigh, NC. Publications/forthcoming include The American Journal of Poetry, Best New Poets 2018, Baltimore Review, Broad River Review, The Cabinet of Heed, Connecticut River Review, The Dead Mule, Duck Lake Journal, The Flexible Persona, The Healing Muse, The HitchLit Review, and I-70 Review, among others.