One side of the net is attention
The other side—indifference
You bump me over
From attention to indifference
And back again
Over and over

We’ve been at this volleyball game
For a year now
You setting me up with affection
Only to spike me into the hot dry sand
And leave me sitting until you feel
Like picking up the game
Where we left off

You always win
Which, by default, means
I always lose

Even though I love the feel of your fingertips
When you push me into the air
With your overhand pass

My time in the sand is so lonely
No one else will pick me up and play with me
Because they think I belong to you

You set me up
And you set me up
To punch me into the dirt of
Your misery, self-consumption and disinterest
With no concern for how those punches
Might make me feel
I’m just a volleyball to you, after all
Made of string and leather and ink
Nothing that can be broken

But after a while
You start to see tears in the leather
And the stitches start to unravel

With the strength of my volition
I’ll roll away on my own
So you can’t play with me anymore
Because no matter how much I enjoy
Our little games
I deserve to be treated as more than
An object of sport

And you will stand alone in your sand pit
Wondering whatever happened
To your favorite toy