Divorce' Night at the Self-Help Bowlarama



You have to admire their form – twelve long
steps before letting it fly: Denial
is more than a river in Egypt, or Just take it
one day at a time, or the tricky Today
is the first day of the rest of your life. There's always
one new guy in a crisp white shirt who's never
heard it all before, who's here for the very first
time of the rest of his life, filling his just-emptied bag
with a fresh load of slogans, while the old pros
sneak off to the shoe rack, duck into the bar, strike
out for any dark corner to be spared
that first enlightened chuckle or aha.  He's on
the team now, in a league all his own, getting crushed
beneath supportive hugs and handshakes as his
name lights up the scoreboard one
lonely letter at a time.  He'll remember this moment
like a seven-ten split – The happy husband he was
yesterday on one side, tomorrow's hope
impossibly on the other.  Already he's rocking
in the gutterball wake of their affection.  He'll topple
to rest among them soon, another casualty scattered
on life's straight and narrow lane that, in the end,
only made him easier to hit.  For the thousandth time

Today, I am reading your good-bye.  In the distance
I hear the ball kissing wood, rumbling
toward me like a welcoming mob.  I'm taking
twelve steps back.  I just can't
help myself, can't stop thinking: This time
I'll make a run for the car, hang my
shirt out the window like a tattered white flag, trade
these borrowed shoes and this old, heavy bag for two
tickets to Egypt, one-way – beg you
to join me in the Nile, to float by my side one
day at a time right back to the first
day we met for the rest of our lives.  Let's reset
the pins, forget about the rules.  Let's
spot each other 300 points and play
like eager children, like  
the swaggering world champions we could be.

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