Bread City Basketball

July 28, 2007, 7:12 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Poetry, War | Tags: , , ,

You never thought it would come to this,
that afternoon in the war
when you leaned so hard into the controls
you almost became part of the landscape:
just you, the old man, the old woman
and their buffalo.
You never thought then
that this grey-haired man in sandals
smoking Gauloises on your back porch,
drinking your beer, his rough cough
punctuating tales of how he fooled
the French in 54,
would arrive at your back door
to call you out to shoot some baskets, friend.
If at first he seems awkward,
before long he’s got it down.
His left leg lifts from the ground,
his arms arch back then forward
from the waist to release the ball
arcing to the hoop, one, two, …
ten straight times. You stare at him
in his tee shirt, sandals, and shorts.
Yes, he smiles. It’s a gift,
good for bringing gunships down
as he did in the Delta
and in other places where, he whispers,
there may be other scores to settle.

by Kevin Bowen

basketball court in vietnam
photo: Huy Nguyen