The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Sunday

Fast Break
By Edward Hirsch

In Memory of Dennis Turner, 1946-1984

A hook shot kisses the rim and
hangs there, helplessly, but doesn't drop,

and for once our gangly starting center
boxes out his man and times his jump

perfectly, gathering the orange leather
from the air like a cherished possession

and spinning around to throw a strike
to the outlet who is already shoveling

an underhand pass toward the other guard
scissoring past a flat-footed defender

who looks stunned and nailed to the floor
in the wrong direction, trying to catch sight

of a high, gliding dribble and a man
letting the play develop in front of him

in slow motion, almost exactly
like a coach's drawing on the blackboard,

both forwards racing down the court
the way that forwards should, fanning out

and filling the lanes in tandem, moving
together as brothers passing the ball

between them without a dribble, without
a single bounce hitting the hardwood

until the guard finally lunges out
and commits to the wrong man

while the power-forward explodes past them
in a fury, taking the ball into the air

by himself now and laying it gently
against the glass for a lay-up,

but losing his balance in the process,
inexplicably falling, hitting the floor

with a wild, headlong motion
for the game he loved like a country

and swiveling back to see an orange blur
floating perfectly through the net.


This week is The Washington Post Book World's annual poetry issue, which is always my favorite of the year. It's the tenth anniversary of the Poet's Choice column, so the editors excerpted each of the poets who have written for the column -- Robert Hass, Rita Dove, Edward Hirsch and Robert Pinsky -- talking about one another's poetry and prose. I first discovered Hass, Dove and Hirsch as a student and it has been my great pleasure to keep learning from them.

We got up early and drove to Hanover, where apaulled's middle brother's stepdaughter was visiting from college in Boston (they live in LA). My mother-in-law made us pancakes, sausages, eggs and muffins for brunch, and we saw Maximus the big groundhog and some bunnies out in back. Then we all piled into our van and drove to Hanover Shoe Farms, which breeds champion horses for harness racing. Lots of the mares are pregnant at this time of year; three of them had foaled early this morning, and we got to see the babies. From there we drove into Gettysburg, where we stopped at Boyds Bear Country to pick up a couple of gifts and look at all the stuffed bear displays.

Then we went to the battlefields, which Noelle had never seen and where my kids are always willing to go even if they've had enough history for awhile because there are rocks to climb on (older son knocked younger son down on a rock and scraped his leg pretty badly, sigh). The cannons had been moved from Little Round Top as part of the ongoing project to try to make the hill look exactly as it did the morning of the battle when General Warren spotted the Confederates approaching. Yet again, we had magnificent 70ish degree weather with hardly a cloud in the sky, so it was glorious to be outside. Later we went out for Mexican food in Hanover and my in-laws showed us their new computer, jigsaw, stamps in their collection and developments to the model train table!

This filly was born less than 12 hours before we saw her nursing. I am always astonished that these babies can fit inside the mothers.

The view down the hillside of Little Round Top toward Devil's Den at Gettysburg National Battlefield, now blooming with spring flowers, unlike last time we were here.

A makeshift Iwo Jima memorial at Boyds Bear Country.

And behind my in-laws' house, Maximus! Who has managed to return from exile from when some of the neighbors demanded that the groundhogs be moved out of the neighborhood lest they should eat their flowers. Now that they know groundhogs help control the rat population, suddenly they are considered desirable neighbors, though no one is quite certain how they found their way back from the park miles away!

The Leaky Cauldron reprinted an article from the April 16th USA Weekend in which Washington Wizards player Gilbert Arenas reveals that he is a Harry Potter fan! He thinks of himself as more like Harry Potter than Viktor Krum, since he sees himself as an underdog, and compares his experiences with the press to dealing with Rita Skeeter: "That was just like a reporter in the NBA when you first start. They're like, 'Oh, you mean this,' and you're like, 'Uh, I guess so.' I think athletes can relate; you're just trying to be modest, and they make you evil before you even do anything. That happened a lot when I first started." Hee!

Have a wonderful Easter, everyone who is celebrating, and a lovely spring Sunday, everyone who is not! And hey, who sent me the virtual chocolate? Show yourself so I can thank you, please! Or at least give me a hint how I might do so. *g*

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