Poetry Winter 2021

Tennis Camp

by Danny Ritz

Ankles painted red with clay,
we’d pound our chests like timpanis,
comparing the shape and depth
of our blisters and calluses
against each other.

Anyone who thought
we were twins was victim to our fool,
my name escaping
your lips
from across the court.

Bright yellow fuzz we’d find
in unexpected places
hours after we were
finished. We’d laugh
loud and ask just
how it could’ve gotten there.

We’d brace for
cold showers on
hot mornings underneath
the unforgiving sun, for
suicides and
spider drills and you
asking our coach why
the conditioning exercises always had such
violent names.

The day after you quit
I saw an actual spider
on the lip of the baseline
and pounded it flat into the clay
with my racket. 

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