Handball Elder

In the dry heat of the sauna,
the sacristy of my sport,
like a priest before the mass
I anoint myself.

I dip two fingers into the IcyHot
and bless my right knee
then the left.
Another dip, and I apply
the sacred ointment to my left shoulder.

This regular ritual is followed
by a light blessing
of whatever other body parts
are crying for forgiveness.

Next the vestments.
After shirt and shorts:
two knee braces
an elbow brace
athletic tape
a headband and eye guards.

I pick up the handball
and process toward the sanctuary
of the court.

After the sacrifice of the game
has been offered
I sit in meditation and pray
for an acolyte
to assist me to the rectory
of the locker room
and the holy waters
of the shower.

Nudibranch, Indonesia, copyright 2005 Mary Pearson

Copyright 2012, Ed Werstein

Ed Werstein, Milwaukee, spent 22 years in manufacturing and union activity before his muse awoke and dragged herself out of bed. His sympathies lie with poor and working people. He advocates for peace and against corporate power. His poetry has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Blue Collar Review, Mobius Magazine and a few other publications.

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