My Last Tennis Match

my coral shoes were a beacon on the faded tennis court / four years, it was a right of passage to hand the scuff marks down / but I didn’t want to let go of my racket / the crowd cleared like it was a normal Tuesday evening / cries bubbled in the back of my throat / if screams could emerge, they’d ache for the place I was standing / because if I ever came back again, I’d be a different person / remembrance: afternoon sun stung the back of leg / sweat racing down to ankles bowed  / in the cradle of dusk I see the ground contained more lives than my own / it lived in a place that time had no say over / the court pulsed and glowed / and I think it would chew me up and spit me out if it saw me shed a tear / so I kicked the dirt and gave it the classic Midwest finger wave / leaving it to its midnights of puffing in missed shots and exhaling wild chants

About the Author

Kelli Lage is earning her degree in Secondary English Education and works as a substitute teacher. She is a poetry reader for Bracken Magazine. Awards: Special Award for First-time Entrant, 2020, Iowa Poetry Association. Website:

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