Tennis

Parents make choices.

Lots of them.

For me,

My mother

Chose tennis.

“Turn your shoulder to the net.”

“Watch the ball.”

It’s too hot.

I wipe the sweat off my nose,

“It’s perspiration,”

My mother says.

But it leaves the dirt of the court

On my nose.

It must be sweat.

The pool is nearby.

My choice is not my mother’s.

Under the shimmering blue

Clear and cool

My hair rises

Dancing in weightlessness

Free from the voice

Of instruction.

The sound of the bubbles rising

Around my floating hair.

Make it easy to choose the pool.

I am seven.

Today.

Much older.

Again in the pool.

Early, doing laps.

It feels good.

I’ve practiced.

But it’s not the joyful

Play of a child.

It’s training.

But then I choose

The court.

The balls come at me.

I watch them.

Some go where I want them to.

Hard and fast.

Some even hit the middle of the racquet

The sweet spot.

I am a kid again.

With a kid smile.

Not training.

There is no goal.

No race.

Tennis is not a tri event.

I can play.

It’s only a clinic.

And I am grateful for

   My mother’s choice.

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