C and I walk to the tennis courts in our neighborhood. It's early dusk, the sky is pink. The tennis courts are at Brookdale Park, where a large crowd of Latino men are playing soccer on the adjoining field. There's a basketball court too, and a baseball diamond. Kids on bikes, kids shooting hoops, kids standing on the sidelines watching the men play soccer. I don't know how they can tell who is on whose team. They don't seem to be wearing any identifying shirts.
The tennis courts are empty. They're fringed with pine trees which hide the glare of the setting sun. As the shadows deepen, the sky goes from light pink, to deep peach, to purple, and the trees go from green to black. Swedish ivy in banks alongside gets darker and glossier. All the leaves are new.
There's a spent condom on the court, and the night lights don't work, which is a shame, because if they did we could play night tennis. As it is we volley until it gets too dark to see the ball. Playing in the half-light I sense rather than see the ball. My arm moves automatically in its direction, I hear the thwack and catch a glimmer of flourescent chartreuse whirring over the net like a small fast planet.
Walking home, we stop because fragrance is pouring out of a camellia bush. "Is that lilac?" C asks confused. There's a profusion of sweet smells; everything is blooming. A few minutes later we are walking under a tree with white blossoms when sweetness assails us again. Orange blossom or honeysuckle? There's no moon but plenty of stars. At home C improvises something lyrical and sweet on the piano while I put a salad together; new spring peas and goat cheese and avocado and small heirloom tomatoes, yellow and purple and red.
I feel full and voluptuous--hormonal. Teaching, I had the third graders use their five senses to describe a memory of the first time they did something--first time riding a bike, first time swimming. One child remembered leaving his orphanage in Cambodia--he was two. He saw dancing monkeys. His new American sister hugged him so hard he fell down.
Another boy writes about the first time he went bowling. He reads in front of the class, "I smell balls." His friends giggle. He frowns. "Not those kind of balls." I interject. "Maybe you could say 'I smell bowling balls.'"
I still have to rewrite the very end of the hot tub play, and tweak a few things here and there. I work on one of the poems The Sun came close to accepting. I wish I could write more like Jorie Graham. Wish I weren't so wedded to narrative and prose. But my mind feels very earthbound. I keep making the same signature moves. For better and for worse. C comes up and puts his arms around me as I stand at the sink, washing lettuce.