by Steve Kowit

This evening, the sturdy Levi’s
I wore every day for over a year
& which seemed to the end
in perfect condition,
suddenly tore.
How or why I don’t know,
but there it was: a big rip at the crotch.
A month ago my friend Nick
walked off a racquetball court,
got into this street clothes,
& halfway home collapsed & died.
Take heed, you who read this,
& drop to your knees now & again
like the poet Christopher Smart,
& kiss the earth & be joyful,
& make much of your time,
& be kindly to everyone,
even to those who do not deserve it.
For although you may not believe
it will happen,
you too will one day be gone,
I, whose Levi’s ripped at the crotch
for no reason,
assure you that such is the case.
Pass it on.

which is to say that our red ball popped this afternoon. our ball that we bounced on for nearly three years. our ball that lulled our little ones to sleep every night. gone. finished. leaving the girl and me in a heap on the floor. undone.


  1. oh no! We thought that ball was invincible. I was so proud we sought it out in north county even before a baby was born. How many miles did it bounce I wonder?

  2. when our yellow ball popped, i was so sad. we never bounced on it with the girl, but she’d had it when she was little and played with it. years we had that ball! i was helping her clean up her room the other day and i found this funny yellow rubbery scrap: she had saved a piece, to remember.

  3. nana–a new one is on the way!

    april–it was hearing about your ball that made us seek one out!

    Lori–Steve Kowit is a wonderful poet and my first writing teacher. he’s written an excellent guide called In the Palm of Your Hand: a Poet’s Portable Workshop. so, so good!

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