Joey Nicoletti

is an English translation
of Mi tocco le palle, an Italian phrase
for “Knock on wood,”
as my friend Sam explains

during our conversation
about a job I’ve applied for.
You’ll nail it, Sam says,
I feel it. I do, just as I feel

that next year, my Buffalo Bills
will be great, touch my balls.
Get ready, man. They will punch
every team in their fucking mouth,

because they made the playoffs
for the second time
in three years, which they haven’t done
since the last century. Also, today

we’re having lunch at a place
that makes a mean bowl
of fra diavolo, and the sun will
stretch its linebacker-large legs out

by the time we’re done,
Sam says. I tell you,
keep teaching your heart
out. Don’t stop rooting

for your Seattle Seahawks,
even when they get punched
in their fucking mouths by my Bills,
touch my balls.

JOEY NICOLETTI has published four poetry collections, including Cannoli Gangster, which was a finalist for the 2009 Steel Toe Books Award. His most recent collection is Boombox Serenade (BlazeVOX), which was released in 2019. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he teaches creative writing at SUNY Buffalo State.