Slam Poem

By Barbara Holguin

Competitive basketball makes me feel good.
Making baskets… Like a release of my anger.
I hear my teammates cheer me on.
Winning makes me proud.
Then I hear my annoying coach: “No, you’re not doing it right!”
My body tenses. I get mad. I leave the game.
I take a break. I tell myself, You’re doing it right.
I come back with a smile. Play the game!
Halfway through… I can’t breathe.
Running… I take six puffs from my inhaler.
Coach says “You can stay out of the game!”
I tell him “No, Coach, I’m good.”

Barbara Holguin is an emerging poet of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians who was 14 when she wrote this poem.