p
o
e
m
s

The tennis match was still on
and while some watched, some sat around
and shucked oysters, cut them from their shells,
the score going in the background-Love, 15, 30, etc…
A peculiar system, though what
did I know, certainly not the name
of either player, how many games were left,

or what each white boundary line meant.
Only that love meant nothing in tennis,
or didn’t exactly mean “nothing”
but rather “to have nothing.” Zero. One
hardly thinks of love as bad except when tennis is on,
when one considers a score is being kept.
I’ve certainly seen this
to be true more than once.
I’ll say, love is no good, but context is important.
OK-my love and I sipped bourbon late
one night. She had been pregnant
with twins, belly a greater zero. Some said, Love
made them, and that was true. And after, some said,
Well, at least you still have love, and that was also true.

Nathan McClain is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017).

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