"Seven Octets"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Oct. 5 2010 7:04 AM

"Seven Octets"

(Continued from Page 2)

He had started bringing us presents: "Surprise Balls"
Of tissue-thin paper you'd dissect
For the plastic prizes nested inside—
Which, of course, we came to expect:

"Got something for me?" we would greet him
While he stood at the door in his hat,
Till one night he snapped "Aren't you glad to see me?"
And brought no presents after that.

Tennis

He took me to the Quadrangle Club courts.
Sometimes he'd teach me how to bend my knees
And drive a topspin forehand, or drop short,
Soft shots with backspin that just cleared the net.

When he played others, he would try too hard.
His backhands slapped the net and made it hiss;
His crosscourt forehands drove too deep and missed.
He'd curse, and, with his racket, strike his head.

.

Paul Breslin is the author of You Are Here, and with Rachel Ney, a forthcoming translation of Aimé Césaire’s play, La Tragédie du roi Christophe. He teaches at Northwestern University.