Back in the Game

It’s not the morning after

your first practice back

that kills you.

 

It’s the morning after that.

 

It’s rolling out of bed because

your abs are too sore

to raise your torso 90 degrees.

 

It’s holding the wall as you

walk to the bathroom, knees

and hips and back all bent

with taut, grinding aches.

 

It’s taking a shower without

washing your hair, unable

to reach the top of your head

without your shoulder

crackling and seizing up.

 

It’s downing six Aleve

with tepid instant coffee.

 

It’s smelling like mouthwash

all day, greasy with IcyHot.

 

It’s lying in bed, feeling

every muscle and every tendon

every time your heart beats.

 

It’s thinking,

 

You’re too old for this.  You’re

22, and you’re too old for this.

 

It’s falling asleep, wondering

if you’ll go again next week.

 

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