“Decorating a Cake While Listening to Tennis” by Peg Duthie

Peg Duthie


The commentator’s rabbiting on and on
about how it’s so easy for Roger, resentment
thick as butter still in a box. Yet word
from those who’ve done their homework
is how the man loves to train—how much
he relishes putting in the hours
just as magicians shuffle card after card,
countless to mere humans
but carefully all accounted for.
At hearing “luck” again, I stop
until my hands relax their clutch
on the cone from which a dozen more
peonies are to materialize. I make it look easy
to grow a garden on top of a sheet
of fondant, and that’s how it should appear:
as natural and as meant-to-be
as the spin of a ball from the sweetest spot
of a racquet whisked through the air like a wand.

from Rattle #60, Summer 2018
Tribute to Athlete Poets


Peg Duthie: “In high school, I reached the state cross-country meet; my trophies share a shelf with my Jane Austen action figure and my Loch Ness Monster caddy. These days I prefer to be on or in water, primarily as a paddleboarder; I’ve also covered tournaments for Tennis Buzz, and I spend more time on horse handicapping and fantasy tennis than I care to reckon up. As an introvert, I’m grateful to sports for opening conversational windows: being able to chat about gear, games, and moves has carried me through coffee breaks, lunch hours, cocktail parties, and business flights. And through those windows come both air and weight, which both clarify and complicate what I can write about.” (web)

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