Football in Croatia

by Melissa Bach Palladino

In my country I verk in de City Hall, and a friend of mine one day come running in: "De soldiers are in de next town and dey cut off woman breast and play football vid it!" I look at her and say, "Vid my breast dey could only play marble."

—Zoritsa, Croatian refugee

One kick and it would fall apart, poor thing, in a burst of fatty blood while the woman screamed on the sidelines, or did she moan, or cry, or crawl away? Or by that point was she dead?

But maybe they had a surgeon in the squad, or a tailor who stitched it together carefully—not a regulation ball size to be sure though with some of the fatter women you can get close if you stuff the pouchy thing with dead leaves or grass. Still, you'd have to be careful with those stitches, they could rip—no headers—you could only kick it gently.

Duct-tape would really be the thing if you wanted durability for a proper game—no bounce but you could kick it down the field with the rosy nipple poking through, kissing things it never dreamed of stuffed in that bra—mud, sky, grass, sky.

Or what if there is no gash at all, no ragged fleshy edge, just a perfect sphere of bouncing breast—smooth, perfumed or milky, with one taut nipple to finger or lick? A breast for the men to play with while they forget their murderous job for a moment and remember the first time they copped a feel or how their mother's pendulous glands hung over their tiny, toothless mouths while they batted at her, clutched and sucked.

Melissa Palladino lives in Rockport, MA with her husband and son. Her work has appeared in Inkwell and has been online at Vocabula, Boston Literary Magazine and elimae. Her story "Spring Cleaning" was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize.