To Monica Seles


Hamburg, 1993

By Shriram Sivaramakrishnan

A nine inch knife
                                                                                                                                              is this long.
It went in     this far
between your shoulder blades—
0.59 inches of white space.
The reach of a preposition.

The remaining eight and a half inches,
you have to endure alone—
a bone-marrow worth of travel.
This distance

is not the same as you see here.
What you see here
is for representational purpose only.
In reality, it shall be your tenth Grand Slam

title—the unplottable one in your career Graf.
Though, you will not get a fairy-tale
finish of six-one six-love, straight sets.
Look across the net:

there is none to return your serve.
Your volleys will fall on empty valleys.
Your broken tennis racquet
is now a weed-land of wires no muzzle can graze.

And through this, you must trudge.
A game without sets. No six-loves.
Instead, you start with six million loves,
unsolicited.


Shriram Sivaramakrishnan, a poet from India, is currently pursuing a Masters in Poetry at Queen’s University Belfast. His poems have appeared in Softblow, The Mondegreen, Message in a Bottle and so on. He tweets at @shriiram.