An Old Man and a Basketball

by Chris Boucher

Following the hollow sound of a bounding ball
Into an empty early morning gym, an old man starts to shoot solo.
The long dormant floor creaks and moans
And the rim rattles in the echoey cold—
Echoes like his old skills. He lives with that
Like he lives with aching joints and arthritic knees.
Rest, ice, compress, elevate. He knows the drill.
If more of life were like a drill,
He wouldn’t be alone
In an empty gym.

Sometimes the pain fades and the magic returns,
Teammates slap five, their eyes recognize.
A small crowd gathers, warming the gym,
Their oohs and aahs absorbing the echoes.
A slick pass is safely cradled,
The ball kissed off the backboard and through the cloth net.
The clock counts down,
But the score flicks forward,
And a bald dome shines in the fluorescence
Like a trophy.


Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing, SNHU Student