Willie Mays,
the greatest center-fielder
in the whole world,
not to mention
the best all-round player of all time,
had arrived in the city
where his most passionate fan
lived, worked, and worshiped.

How could this young woman,
the mere hostess of a hotel coffee shop,
the one with the silly grin
he would surely interpret
as belonging to one
crazed and dangerous,
the one who stared unblinking
into the eyes of the man
she hoped would smile down on her
as she knelt before him,
requesting his autograph
on a paper napkin she had swiped from the lap
of a befuddled customer
and was now placing in front of him?

How could this most introverted of all his fans
know that her hero would break into a big laugh
at her adoring, prayerful plea
as he asked her name and began writing?