PLAY THE BALL
Bright yellow tennis ball fresh from its plastic pod
arcs in the gray Hong Kong sky,
“a high one” just like she ordered
tumbles downward into her soft hands,
reaching for the sky,
priestess rooted in place.
Half question half reminder,
“left foot in front,” she sizzles ball back on a line.
I pepper her with “good one”
and chase down errant heaves without complaint,
her bounding innocence, her smile,
memory’s cards I’ll never trade.
Life’s a better coach than red-faced father
turning her to tears
when ball skitters between her legs,
sails over her head,
jams her fingers,
sends her sprawling far from home.
She will learn
don’t let the ball play you,
play the ball.