“Playing Tennis with My Ex” by Diane Elayne Dees

2020 Pushcart Prize Nominee

The wind keeps shifting, putting me off
balance. The sun obscures my view
on the deuce side, and I cannot see
the ball as I toss it. My serve, already weak,
is based more on hope than competence.
We cannot find a rhythm; we look like fools,
unable to keep the ball inside the lines,
powerless to hold on to an advantage.
He aces me, I pass him. I hit drop shots
because I know him: he will not ever move
forward. We break each other again and again;
he loses his sole, but goes on with the game.
He defeats me. We pack our belongings
and go our separate ways, not even bothering
to calculate our impressive collection of faults.



Diane Elayne Dees’s poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that delivers news and commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world. Her chapbook, I Can’t Recall Exactly When I Died, is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing House. Also forthcoming (Kelsay Books) is Diane’s chapbook, Coronary Truth.

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