Monday, 8 June 2009

Thackray vs Thackray

first on court our breath is a fine spray
in the freezing air slapping my thighs red
as we warm up to the metronomic pop
of the ball against tightened strings going
tic - toc - tic - toc - tic

till I’m the one who fires it out of play and
even then he pings it back chasing down
every ball like our yellow dog careering
into the river after another wayward throw
that should’ve been left to drown

halfway through we stop by the umpire’s chair
and I gulp icy lumps of water ignoring
him as he shows me how to carve the air in
perfect s-shapes the floodlight dancing
lambent in a shock of dandelion hair

then in the final rally I play a backhand slice
that’s dropping short he charges to the net
and stays crouching poised to volley
as his lower abdomen flexes up
and down the way a wasp prepares to sting

not expecting my topspin forehand
which he turns to see just skim the line
and back to me with both arms stretching high
in joy his racket clattering to the floor
as if nothing could have pleased him more

in the car going home I can hardly eat the
bacon sandwich trembling in my hands

1 comment:

  1. This is my Wimbledon fix, post Mozza - a timely poem and a timely reminder that life, love and tennis are games worth playing - not a backhand but a 130 MPH served compliment.