When Maria strikes the ball,
zipping cross-court winners into the corner,
the racket of old twists in my hand.
I am on the baseline awaiting life.
Will I be able to return its questions,
and rise to the top of my game?
I have always struggled on the court,
my dreams outstripping victorious results,
my consciousness denying gifts I’ve received.
No French Open, no literary prizes
will strengthen my spine and make me believe
I can beat you at your own game.
So, Maria, enjoy your prize, and if it’s all right,
I will share in your victory which will
wash away all the defeats I imagine I have endured,
playing on your court of no return.