infinite anthology: day 195

“Poem for Pancho Gonzales”

This was the world of white lines, a game

unlike any other, where the object was to win,

only you used words like “Please”

if your aim ended up improperly

in the next court, “Thank you” when

the ball was returned and “Love”

after you scored first.

Yours was the name that survived

the hatred only California can inspire,

strong enough to be etched in fire

on tennis rackets redeemed

by thrifty mothers who built a life

on S&H Green Stamps a dish,

a dish, a lamp, an ashtray at a time.

–Leroy V. Quintana


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