Today I’m playing basketball again.
I keep throwing the battered soccer ball,
left behind by two kids
of the family who moved out and on,
to the net-less hoop they had set up the pine tree
while the dog looks on
Every sixth attempt goes in, or so.
It’s been a while.
Bestia is the only witness to this phenomenon.
Tall slim pine trees are looking down on me.
Overweight middle-aged woman
trying to score.
Bestia’s Buddy moved out with the family.
He left a bone in the grass for his friend.
Bestia found it and wouldn’t budge, his teeth clenched around it.
His eyes were wild and the message was clear:
“AS IF you want it for yourself.
You’d throw it away!”
But that was before I found the ball
and the old wish stirred at every basket made.
It was pre-kissing
I played with the boys after school,
a rare girl.
It might be because the ball was mine.
Of course, that was it!
And I’ve thought all this time he liked me.
Yet it was nothing sweeter than scoring a 3-pointer
that wasn’t invented yet
over his defending body.
I know, he was not guarding me as he would another boy.
I wonder how much longer girls will be counting on it.
Still there was something in his eyes
when my ball went in
and it was his fault.
And it went in a lot.
In a way it went in even before it left my hands.
I instilled it with the mission and let it fly.
Now I see them make a shot and turn their backs to the basket
with a hand behind the ear waiting for the ball to pop in.
It was like that.
And now there are pine trees and grass beneath my feet
and a ball that doesn’t bounce
and no one to pass it to
but the dog.
I stop the count at 7:0. Tomorrow I’ll go for 10.
I take the coat and scarf that I’ve left on the ground,
I take the dog
and we walk home.