To read the latest issue, click 'Issues by year' in the menu above

I never had it, back when I played tennis,
despite those twisting forehands, serves and lobs,
but now a heavy bag or some such menace
has brought it on—and as the tendon throbs,

I lie awake and think, Could this be karma?
A punishment for dropping racquet sports?
Are armbands and dependence on Big Pharma
part of a sentence by the cosmic courts

for squandering my years of youthful practice,
of hamstrings, gluteals and deltoids flexed?
And now a thought as spiky as a cactus:
What hideous new judgment's coming next?

As payback for more passions I let moulder,
more arts and talents I allowed to slip,
could I be doomed to gourmet-cooking shoulder,
or to the lonely anguish of flute lip?

My terrors multiply: ceramics bicep,
tap-dancing ankle, roller-skating back,
crocheting armpit, beanbag-juggling tricep
and (worst of all) mime sacroiliac.

Is there no hope for me? I toss and worry,
thoughts heavy as a monograph by Kant.
If only I could show that fateful jury
I'm more than just a flaky dilettante…

And then: fresh hope that justice will be carried!
I haven't stuck with hobbies, it is true—
but in the thirty years since we got married,
I've never once imagined quitting you.