No team may have more than seven players
on the pitch and each must believe
that their heels are aflame, that the bounce
of the ball is merciless, that the field is wide open
before it’s closed by the lung-crunching tackle.
And the scrum must have three players
from each team that lock together like teeth
across the lines the ref guesses in the grass,
and when the ball spins out to the backs,
the receiving player must catch and sprint
through a rush of hot blood and adrenaline,
the ball held like a baby in the crook of his arm;
and after the side-step that shocks the last man to stone,
he must launch into flight and kiss the ball down.