Magic Trick

Two years later

two years after my body

had said no more

I stepped onto a pitch once again


I no longer walked on the balls of my feet

I no longer felt that burst within

the springs now rusted and unyielding


the first strike of the ball

disappointingly foreign


there were echoes

whispers in the basement


I sat deep and waited

for the game to come to me

and it did

it came as a scream in the wind

it came as flood in the desert

I stood firm

firm as these joints would allow


some of the players were my own age

leaning into the avalanche

with me

some were 25 years younger

full of bad habits

habits that I had corrected

when it was just too late


if I could put my head on their body

if I could take their body for mine


my touch was still there

hiding, almost embarrassed

I could still see a pass

I still had eyes in the back of my head

my one magic trick


but my feet, once lightning

now moved through treacle

my swerve, predictable

my feints, mechanical

what grace I might have had

long since ash


I warred with sleep that night

and woke amazed

at my betrayal of myself

my ankle, my hip, my knee, my back


but my trusted heart

stood with me

as I stood up

and stepped, creaking

into another life



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