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Kate Rushin

Kate Rushin is the author of The Black Back-Ups (Firebrand Books, 1993) and “The Bridge Poem.” She received an MFA from Brown University and has held fellowships from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and The Cave Canem Foundation. Rushin has taught poetry at Wesleyan University and Connecticut College.

By This Poet

1

Venus & Serena Play Doubles On Center Court

I find an upscale bistro with a big screen at the bar.
The Williams Sisters will step out on to this Center Court,
for the very first time as a team. I celebrate the event
with my very first Cosmopolitan. I feel like a kid

watching TV in the Before Times: miraculously, Nat King Cole or
Pearl Bailey would appear on the Dinah Shore Show or Ed Sullivan.
Amazed, we’d run to the phone, call up the aunts and cousins.
Quick! Turn on Channel 10!... Three minutes of pride...

Smiling at no one in particular, I settle in to enjoy the match.
What is the commentator saying? He thinks it’s important
to describe their opponents to us: one is “dark,”
the other “blonde.” He just can’t bring himself to say:

Venus & Serena. Look at these two Classy Sisters:
Serious. Strategic. Black. Pounding History.