The Village Hall Players

Three empty tables –
without decorations –
set equal – spaced
with sweated men
at squared-up ends –

They are quick to each
shot with fenced returns
off slightly comical bats –
facing up to their other –
posed low in a mirror –

with backhand – forehand
and wrist flicks of a ball –
that metronome tick – set
by the smacked kisses
of celluloid – rubber – wood –

measured eye-to-hand over
the stretched – pitiful – nets –
to gain advantages ruled-in
without any higher umpire
by meeting white-line edges

to beat an inverted opponent –
although both well-matched –
but not enough to claim a draw –
there is always only one winner
between men playing at tables


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