we break even at the bowling alley, symmetrical
destruction, seven-ten split in one of five unlit lanes,
carpeted walls and a crucifix above the rental shoe desk.
there is someone outside in the car with a belt around their arm
and another polishing their own bowlers, shiny and holographic
so their own face crests into two. it is history preserved, repeated, still
the same scoring machine our fathers’ used, same footloose soundtrack
and box tv. the man at the counter knows us, does magic tricks for tips—
we see our teachers, our pastors, our exes, throwing globes of concrete
as far away as we can. outside, the night is somber soft and somewhere
there is a car alarm or a burning trash can but here it smells
good like vinyl shoes and tobacco, sounds like velcro and billiards,
feels like details. but consider the facts: september is coming yet again
and every time we knock down hurdles some wire will bring the pins back up.