Naomi to Coco: Whispered at the Net

After their match at the US Open


Our mothers will love us

even when we lose.

Our fathers’ pride is unshakeable.

After Arthur, they returned to Belgium, 

and agreed to make tennis Ashe proof

but they didn’t know Black Japanese girls, 

Black Brazilian girls, 

Black Jamaican girls,

Black girls everywhere, 

wake up conquering   ash. 

Venus and Serena were not accidents. 

They were our How-To Manual.

Always know that we belong here. 

Let’s always make each other better

while we watch them watch us 

wreck this place. 



Frank X Walker was born in Danville, Kentucky in 1960, and graduated from the University of Kentucky, where he now teaches as an associate professor of English. He is the author and editor of eleven books of poetry and is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets. He is the recipient of the 2006 Thomas D. Clark Literary Award and a Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship in Poetry.