I took one last walk 

through the old neighborhood 

today, down past the school. 

The blacktop was empty, 

but every brick held stories 

of a girl who used to play 


tennis there, every day, 

drilling against the wall. 

I like to imagine she went pro,

that the universe rewards tenacity, 

but there’s something ominous 

about an opponent who can’t miss, 


so I remember her by her radio 

instead, the skid of her sneakers 

on sand as she split-stepped, 


ready for anything 

or at least convinced she was, 

the ball thwocking against the bricks. 

 # # #

Natalie Schriefer often writes about sexuality, women in sports, and the outdoors. She plays tennis, climbs mountains, runs, and even dabbles in ballroom dance. She received her MFA from Southern Connecticut State University and works as a freelance writer and editor. Home base: www.natalieschriefer.com.