Old Men Playing Basketball
By B.H. Fairchild
The heavy bodies lunge, the broken language
of fake and drive, glamorous jump shot
slowed to a stutter. Their gestures, in love
again with the pure geometry of curves,
rise toward the ball, falter, and fall away.
On the boards their hands and fingertips
tremble in tense little prayers of reach
and balance. Then, the grind of bone
and socket, the caught breath, the sigh,
the grunt of the body laboring to give
birth to itself. In their toiling and grand
sweeps, I wonder, do they still make love
to their wives, kissing the undersides
of their wrists, dancing the old soft-shoe
of desire? And on the long walk home
from the VFW, do they still sing
to the drunken moon? Stands full, clock
moving, the one in army fatigues
and houseshoes says to himself, pick and roll,
and the phrase sounds musical as ever,
radio crooning songs of love after the game,
the girl leaning back in the Chevy’s front seat
as her raven hair flames in the shuddering
light of the outdoor movie, and now he drives,
gliding toward the net. A glass wand
of autumn light breaks over the backboard.
Boys rise up in old men, wings begin to sprout
at their backs. The ball turns in the darkening air.
Another quickie while distracted by sports on TV -- ugggh, I did not want Duke again, I wanted the Big Ten to win one of the national titles. My day otherwise was pretty low-key, apart from putting my foot through one of the steps to the basement, which cracked as I stepped down -- fortunately it was carpeted, and that held me up enough to drop the laundry basket and grab the railing so my leg didn't go right through. Some of you may remember that we had a disastrous flood from an upstairs bathroom several years ago, and a lot of the wood in the house, particularly under the kitchen floor and the steps, has never been the same.
In happier sports news, the Orioles won their first game of the season, though the Nationals weren't as successful. And the weather was gorgeous, and we have daffodils blooming all over the neighborhood, plus lots of crocuses and the first hyacinths. And three bunnies today right around the corner from my house! We ate dinner late because we went out for a walk, then caught up on Madam Secretary before the basketball championship. Here are some photos I took in the Marais, which is still the Jewish center of Paris and also a focus of gay pride (pretty much everyone agrees that L'As du Fallafel is THE place for falafel):