Rain Delay

by Sam Riviere

“We’ve discovered Superman’s address, and got to the bottom

of the wing-beat rate a beetle needs to stay dry in the rain,

all of which brings to mind the last stand of a certain man

on this very field, what, sixteen years since, is it Greg?

You’ll remember Amit’s aztec gaze, how he’d play

from a firm back foot, pick his point above your arm,

directing when to kick your wrist and place the pitch, swatting

shots off like dizzy moths – something of the battling mantis

in his awkward height, a bored elegance addressed

by the long circles of his arms. Back home, of course,

he’s thought a god, and there always was an uncanniness,

a gift for timing, drawing luck – the rain, like now,

sometimes came with his beckoning, and that feast of charms

rattling about his neck, his slightly eerie victory dance

scuffing dust in geometric shapes, setting a hex

along his crease… The fast bowler from the islands

faced him here in ‘86, a brutal little ball of a man

with a witchunter’s ardent, direct line. A sad day for sport

when the delivery caught Amit short, bouncing up to touch

his chin, the sweet spot of a perfect uppercut. Down he went,

and never really came around, but you’ll remember, Greg,

the swarm of unlikely blood-coloured butterflies

that descended on the pitch, a couple of which can often

be seen this time of year, out there now, batting between the drops.’