Nothing But Net ~ Robert Claps


Picture us, two sixty-year olds
Shooting the rock in the cul-de-sac,
Me in ripped gardening jeans,
Dribbling with one hand, holding
a beer with the other,
And my wife, off-balance, favoring
Her good hip, ready to swear out loud
If she breaks a fingernail.
Little wonder the neighbors honk
And wave as they pass, relieved
To see us laughing again
Three months after the wake,|
Time my wife spent out back
Watching the feeder for signs
Or kneeling in the garden, planting
Phlox and vetch, common asters,
Everything purple, except for
The three-foot angel praying
With her stone hands clasped.

I wish I could tell you
That small birds bring daily
Messages from her daughter,
That the wildflowers console,
Or that each shot my wife takes
Forms a perfect arc and falls
Through the hoop, nothing but net.
But no, sometimes she forgets
To tuck an elbow in, flick
Her wrist and wave goodbye
To the ball; sometimes
She doesn’t care, and when she thinks
I’m not looking she’ll throw up a prayer.