lemon tennis

a foam lemon, highlighter-bright yellow, nicked & scratched to hell, beat with a tennis racket off scuffed walls until the neighbors pound the floor, peppered back & forth in inimitable rallies, or guided gently up while I lie supine, soft tosses with a delicate massé of backspin to a perfect floating halt just below the ceiling’s skin, stuffed innards bleeding out in tiny clumps from cuts, ragged & scarred from too many overhand smashes in the dark, a place where lamps topple and wayward books stub toes and TVs get remodeled, but at rest, now, as all games go from Love to Let to Set to spent matches, tucked snugly in a crook between a doorknob and a tall stack of paperbacks, weathered from too much sun and not enough backhands, served to a solitary desuetude, to exist in a dusty exile, awaiting the tight-stringed thwack of deliverance to lob or slice its yellow-foam ass back into shape, a test, a game for real goners, loneliness aficionados, to see who cares or doesn’t what the score matters, or what’s not what, bounded through the next lemon-yellow disaster with a serve, a leap, and a yodeling howl.

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