A Good Eye, Kid by Dorian Rolston
Each night before tucking himself into bed and feeling for the shudder and push- off of dreaming, he stood tall as he could, puffed out and barefoot, in front of the mirror, and looked: looked at the wet-glass surface over his eyes, looked at the water-color white and blue and yellow and orange spread together and sucked into the holing black, looked into the black through the plane window at cruising altitude of about 30,000 feet when this is your captain speaking with a strong tail wind on a nonstop flight, looked into his looking-into reflection clouding over puffed out clouds, and saw stars. The eyes of a champion, his coach had told him, or had told his mother who had told him, or had told him to scold him for not seeing them, or had him just to scold him, and now he saw them, saw stars. Each night he picked up his racquet, the wearing-thin over-grip unraveling its cirrus-white wisps over its paled-blue cloth over the high-strung racquet, the world- wearied cracks and chips and scuffs and bits fraying the edge of the frame of the racquet, the tight jagged grid mapping the yellow-dot hits in old-ball fuzz across the sweetest spot of the racquet, and swung. The swings carved the air around him until the emptiness was familiar and picked up—picked up stick speed, picked up air mass, picked up elements of surprise in quickening gasps, picked up the shuddering timber of propeller, picked up the pushing-off of aloft, and let go. Each eye on the ball, he heard himself think, watching his toss pause midair, blink.
Dorian Rolston is writing, including, but not limited to, other things.