Tennis de table

On the first day,

we found the table, folded,

and wheeled it out onto the terrace where

we planned to play. Such games we’d have;

tournaments, contested keenly but without

rancour, late into the unpolluted purple

velvet nights. We’d get better, too;

improve our serves, perfect a looping

topspin forehand, maybe even master

that difficult pen-hold grip.

 

 

*

 

Five days in,

we haven’t played as much as

we intended. Hardly at all, in fact;

a knock-up on the second day, since when

the table’s gone unused. We blame the heat;

who wants to run around in this? Sun-slammed

we slump around the pool. In any case,

we only have two bats, and one’s not much good.

 

*

 

Bumping down the track,

towards the village where we’ve bought

our daily bread, and where last night

we had that awful final meal served

by the hilariously rude waiter,

ping pong is the last thing on our minds.

Five hundred miles of autoroute await,

and then the gaping tunnel that will

swallow us and spit us out in real life.

 

The table proved hard to disassemble

so we left it for the next people who

may perhaps make better use of it.