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 beside 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.