Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Fast Break

April 22, 2001|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, turning 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 layup

*

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.

*

From "Motion: American Sports Poems," edited by Noah Blaustein (University of Iowa Press: 250 pp., $15.95 paper)

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|