Not Child’s Play

I’m really not a games person, but when I read the prompt for today to write a poem using terminology from a game, I immediately thought of the one game that was a life changer for me.

Not Child’s Play

Once upon a
gray late-November
recess time, a schoolgirl–
the player in Square B–
waits, anticipates,
watches the server
with her cougar eyes
for the ball’s one bounce
and tinny, piercing ping
punctuated on patched
blacktop in the service box.

That contact causes
what the girl calls
“a little gunshot” ricocheting
questions in her chest–
Where will the ball land . . .
first, . . . second . . . third . . .
on the line . . .
out of bounds?
No matter! She tastes
that sweetness she
recognizes as ready!

But just as quickly
as an unforeseen out
the game is gone;
replaced by rough reality–
“President Kennedy
has been shot!”
she hears quaking
across the playground like
wind blasts of heavy snow
in a mid-winter blizzard.

Recess is over–
but that playground
will be seared
in the school girl’s
memory even when
she’s, old and she
will feel“ a little gunshot”
whenever she hears
a ball-hit-blacktop ping.

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