Ping Pong in the Dark Green Forest

Brandon Pettit


When she walked out the back door, holding hands with cancer, going toward that dark green forest, he was left standing in the reflection of their window.  On that first night that he was truly alone, first time in forty-eight years, he stood at the gas kitchen-stove, black spatula in hand, eggs running in the pan, tears salting his breakfast dinner.  They had me when she was his roller-skate waitress wheeling her way to his car with a burger and fries.  Two weeks after their first meal, they rushed off across the country to Vegas for a quickie wedding.  Almost a half-century, five kids, over twenty grandchildren, and a few greats — later he sits at his old, brown kitchen table eating hardened yokes by himself until I enter the front door, his favorite dessert in my hands:  angel food cake.  I say, We’re going to play ping-pong first — because I feel like tonight’s my night to win, Gramps.


It’s not my night

to wrestle his mind away, it’s his


to swing the red and black rubber paddle, like I am her cancer

and he —

the axe avenging her death.



Brandon Pettit is a 27 year old former small town New Yorker living in Florida as a snowbird studying the art of writing, although there are many afternoons he feels he is studying the art of disc-golf.  He is an associate poetry editor for SWEET: A Literary Confection and a contributor to  His poems have most recently appeared in NewVerseNews. com and The Great Lake Review.