Roger Sedarat  

To learn how to depend on my backhand
I wrote three steps in pen on my backhand:

“First plant your foot, then drop the head, and fol-
Low through” (words of wisdom on my backhand.)

I have to brush the ball instead of push
To generate top-spin on my backhand.

Goddamn, why don’t I lock my arms and swing!?
My stupid wrist must bend on my backhand.

Before I stand a chance against Daniel,
I need to learn to win on my backhand. 

“You baby hitter! No one swings like that.”
(The sound of me hatin’ on my backhand.)

There goes another game. What can I do?
A ball netted again on my backhand. 

“Be patient, Roger. Learn to trust your swing
And plant that foot!” Coach Ben, on my backhand.


ROGER SEDARAT is the author of two poetry collections: Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio UP's 2007 Hollis Summers' Prize, and Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011). He teaches poetry and literary translation in the MFA program at Queens College, City University of New York.