No older than seven, Dad asked us to find his
net, the old practice badminton net he used
and won his old leagues with, and he smiled,
thinking of us working up to the same league
and winning in the same cold court he lost in.
Eager to help but not knowing how, my brother and I
searched for the net and found nothing, searched again
and found rackets sticking out like tomb markers.
Scrambling, we made do;
it was makeshift, near embarrassing:
a hula skirt from Mum’s hen do spread out,
left end tied to two bamboo sticks, bandaged at the middle,
right end wrapped around the safety net of our trampoline,
as taut as bent twigs could be taught, bowing
under its own weight in the centre.
Inside and tired, we watched the wind move it,
until a magpie sat, two pecks and the net unties.
I expect my brother to cry but he laughs,
‘One magpie, you should have seen that one coming,
everyone knows the rhyme,’
and he laughs again at the face I pull
when I look up and see another circling around
miles above home.