A small park was next to the new house—
A two-level affair with swings below and basketball
An invitation to exercise.
I had a basketball from a cereal promotion—
A black and white ball with red lettering—
An embarrassment to a real player.
Basketball was never my game;
My sports were Scrabble and Monopoly.
Running bored me.
But I saw an opportunity,
A possible antidote to a spreading midriff,
A chance to hone a new skill.
I began with free throws,
Standing at the line and concentrating,
Launching the ball hopefully.
I considered the physics,
The precise point on the backboard I needed to hit
To drop the ball into the hoop.
I got lots of exercise
Chasing the ball as it bounced off the backboard,
Or the rim, or the fence.
I tried other shots—
Close in, from either side, from far away.
I played Scrabble better.
Most throws were right-handed,
Though I was willing to try anything that worked—
Left-handed, two-handed, underhanded.
There were rare successes.
You can’t miss all the time,
I reconsidered the angle
And recalculated the location of my target,
The flip of the fingers.
I persisted, as weeks passed.
I watched the clouds and the airplanes writing bright
lines across the darkening sky,
But I saw few baskets.
Perhaps physics wasn’t the answer.
Despite my physics degree, I wasn’t a good billiards
Time for Plan B.
Using it seemed to offer a greater margin for error,
But relying on the backboard wasn’t working well.
I aimed for the basket.
I imagined a point in space,
One just above the hoop center—
My new aiming point.
My movement had been frugal—
My body mostly still to avoid disturbing my arm motion—
But now I stopped calculating.
I thought only of the point above the basket.
I crouched slightly.
I jumped into the air.
My arm shot upward as my whole mind and body aimed for