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The Dream Because Love Ends

Elisa Gabbert

The person I'm playing tennis with keeps changing
back and forth between my brother and my ex-boyfriend—

I hope this means nothing; I just miss them both;
they make me feel fucking horrible. Some part of me knows

it's 4 a.m. and I'm too weak to dive for a shot; my racket strings
are on the verge of snapping gloriously like Achilles' tendons.

Allen wears the face from when we went apt. hunting
and he called all the places in our price range Calcutta.

As soon as I think of that flying roaches enter from the west.
My brother whacks at them with his old Wilson

as they whiz by our ears at their disgusting frequencies,
speed skating black figure 8's against the dusty sky.

We make a run for the Pro Shop and soon enough
we're drinking orange soda on the couch like everything is OK;

Allen drapes one of his long arms, his Hong-Kong-brown arms,
piano-hand arms, road-hockey-scarred-elbow arms

across my shoulder and says that everything is OK. On TV
they're showing footage from the courts and it seems like

we're still out there: Man vs. Nature. I wonder out loud
if it's some kind of joke and one of them says If it is,

it's the saddest, the longest, the slowest, most beautiful joke
you could tell
. He doubles me over. He knows me so well.

Elisa Gabbert

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