Volleyball by Betsy K. Brown

Volleyball
or, of the high school athletes who preferred form to free verse

The players love the net. They raise it high
Like heraldry in the gymnasium,
Unfurl it edge to edge, a standard set,
A boundary for their bounding, bruising play.
A battle line drawn firmly in the earth,
The net expects a leap and a long reach;
The players reverently touch its stern face
At every spike; it flutters, unperturbed.
The net conducts their dance. The back-and-forth,
The contra and the canter to the line,
The gentle set and death-defying dive,
The meeting, parting, serving, sprinting. Then
After the game, they show me all their wounds.
No glory, they say, if not for the net.

by Betsy K. Brown

Editor’s Note: This sonnet’s direct comparison (via the title) of poetry with a sport juxtaposes two things that don’t often go together, with delightful results.

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