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


From American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement, edited by Vigil Suárez and Ryan G. Van Cleave, and published by University of Iowa Press. Copyright © 2001 by Leroy V. Quintana. Used with permission. All rights reserved.