the old life – a poem

the old life

in almost every kind of light
his forearms mimic
the skin of a snake about to slough
or a paper-bag used too many times
about to crack
                                wide open

it teases at a capacity for something else
as if waiting to be filled

with what

all that’s left are memories

    of the cross-court forehand winners
    played on ice-pocked university courts

    that one majestic in-swinger
    pilfering the off-stump bail
    like a slick-fingered thief

    of wrapping her in an embrace
    he thought would never end

in the darkness
he dreams those things again
almost as if the skin had split
and released him
                            back into a life once loved

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