Match Point


Match Point:  Wimbledon Center Court  From a photograph of Boris Becker by Adam Stoltman at Wimbledon 1985

Right after the yelling
screams, roars of adoration
spurs as trophies flash
in the servers eyes, wiping
brow as camera focuses
closer he bounces his rival
two time champion waits
for can opener lifting
the ball

as the audience gasps, ready
for the ace, with loudest grunt
forewarns. One swing before
the tears or will his fate bring
cheers rallying heads bobbling
back and forth on grass, grasping
center court on grass attention
match point strikes the tension
of 40 love—

not waiting for the shout
of the ball’s epic
first flight
to land on the grass,
soft hands, curves the grip
for his backhand returns;
this grinder dives reaches out,
the ball paints the line
as the crowd ignites—
all the racket hits is nerves.

Nothing but strikes as he swings
The only sound, his shoes
squeaking on center court.
Through the net, breath
caught, withstanding all
between the sweats, forgoing doubt
no time to confess, reaching
for an upset as the ball fades,
as the crowd
gasps too still to shout;
falling towards the chalk
line, match point, landing
fast— will it be
in or out?

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is an L.A. poet whose work appears in the new True Romance Poems collection, 1000 Tankas for Michael Brown, The Lake Poetry, Edgar Allen Poet Journal # 2, Fukushima Poetry Anthology, The New Verse News, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Spilt Ink Poetry, Erotic T Magazine, Luna Luna Magazine’s Latino Poetry Project, Love Poetry Lovers, Silver Birch Press, Transcendence Magazine, Ealain Literary & Art Magazine, ZO Magazine, Thick With Conviction, Oddball Magazine, The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society, Men’s Heartbreak Anthology, Purrfect Poetry Anthology and in Poetry in Motion’s collection Poems to Fuck to. He is currently enrolled in the MFA Graduate program at Antioch University in Los Angeles.

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