Mitchell Jacobs is a second-year poet in the MFA program in creative writing, where he is managing editor for Sycamore Review.
At the 2016 Department of English Literary Awards, he received the Poetic Sequence Award as well as the Budd and Betty Knoll
Award for Best of Contest for his poem “Rongorongo.” His poetry and comics appear or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Lumina,
and Pinball. Photo by Janeen Redman.
The Tennis Nets
sag. The once-white vinyl top band and
the black bands along the sides
converge toward gray, a gray that is
the cumulative color of weather.
The nets are waiting for summer’s hubbub
or maybe for total convergence on that gray;
I can’t assume. They have no senses,
after all, only presence. A tennis ball’s
inimitable yellow and velocity…
it’s just a thing that scuffs them up.
Over the snowy courts, the nets mark time
by a senile scraping against their posts,
swaying faintly in no breeze I can feel.
Were I to stand here for hours
I might read into it some rhythm.
Or rather, were I able to slough off
By Mitchell Jacobs. Photo by © iStockphoto.com/ Travis Chalmers.
my awareness of time, the bulk
of its passing, I might lose the urge
to find a rhythm there at all.
I follow a trail of hoofprints,
split hearts filled in with ice,
diagonally across the court
from one chain-link door hanging ajar
to another. A deer has been here, alone
and not recently. I walk beside
my phantom knowledge of it.
Animal heat, musky fur—
it passed between the nets.
A trespasser, boots amassing snow,
I tread between the nets
and the nets will not remember.