“Why Mi Mami Loves You, Rafa Nadal” by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

Mi Mami was nunca just a casual
fan watcher, she was dedicated
following each match in her seat
where she would sit, often drift
off silently drooling in a daze
of dolor y silencio, but when you
Rafa arrived on her TV screen,
placing your Evian and pink
flavored drink diagonally by
your seat on the court, with
every passing shot mi Mami
would reawaken, you siempre
resurrecting her spirit, sometimes
in between commercials, I would
I would often ask her why Rafa?
She would proudly answer
el suda like we sweat, seeing
you race, running down
shots across the court, mi Mami
would tell me, el juega
como nosotras trabajamos
seeing you fight for every point
on the court, she would proudly
say, el persevere like we have
done, de todos los países who
speak español, from deuce to
cada set and final serve, it was
more than amor, in our casa
there was always love for you,
Rafa. When you would fall
down with exhausted alegría
after Championship point,
like your sweat, after she passed
her spirit always next to me,
I would pour tears remembering
mi Mami’s gushing praise for you,
ella me dijo, cuando gana, todos
con piel morena, proud acento
with each speech, I now entiendo
her palabras, Rafa, con cada victoria,
tu hablas por todos. When all of us—
watch you, our favorite Spaniard
tennis player, lifting every trophy.
we are all a little victorious. Even hoy
after winning, looking over
at mi Mami’s framed foto
as the camera’s flashes for you,
the commentator of color
announces how much the crowd
loves focusing on Nadal’s joy,
I swear I can see from her
photograph, grinning jubilosa
next to me, mirándote on TV,
tengo que decirte Gracias Nadal,
because of tú, wherevershe is,
through her smilingsonrisa, Rafa,
mi Mami is always glowing with you.

Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is the author of Flashes & Verses…Becoming Attractions from Unsolicited Press, Between the Spine from Picture Show Press, Speaking con su Sombra with Alegría Publishing, as well as La Belle Ajar and We Are the Ones Possessed from CLASH Books. Adrian lives with his wife in Los Angeles with their adorably spoiled cat, Woody Gold.

Author photo: Rachael Warecki

Image: “Mami y Rafa” by Adrian Ernesto Cepeda

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