I watch them from the warmth, their matchstick bodies
Thrown across the court, underneath the light,
Bright and white, unwavering. Their breath
Hangs in icy clouds as groans erupt from lungs
That long for wins in quiet pockets of the night.
They play to knock the wrongs, the awful shit
That rattles round their heads, they long for peace
And echoes of that devil ball, hitting racket, hitting court,
Becomes a meditation on the frosty day, as night
Begins to settle and the floodlights mark their world.
Outside their court their demons dance
In darkness, clawing at the fence of wire
In the knowledge that their prey is there, ready
For that moment when the game is won
And bags are packed, a silent walk with heads
Bowed low, in prayer. In contemplation they will leave
And sit in cars, windows fogged from deepest breaths.
A moment taken, quietness is needed
As the court lights dip and music plays
To end the show, the tennis was but secondary
In this battle late at night. And that is why
They play this hour as I stare, wishing that
I had an outlet just like that, to while away
Those lonely hours after darkness falls.