Fast Break

Fast Break

(poem for Adam)

Of the three men who rise up

for the ball, by far I am smallest -

but want it more - and come down

amid a fusillade of elbows and arms

with the coveted rebound - yet already

I spot him streaking up court and know -

not by the color of his shirt, not

by the damp spray of blond hair -

I know it will be my son

because that is how he plays the game

and that is the man he's become -

so without a dribble or a step,

I send the ball up in a long high arc,

descending through defenders' outstretched arms

to a space only Adam can reach.

He handles the pass clean and,

in mid-gallop, dribbles once,

takes a long last stride then

launches himself like a burst

from a roman candle, cradling the ball

in his right hand and laying it in -

I assume - but can no longer see him

through the tangle of bodies, will not

watch him make the goal, will be left

to only imagine the faint trace of pride

riding behind an athlete's stoic face

and the arm extended, finger pointing,

seeking me out - a player's mute acknowledgment.

The pass, the assist, the triumph, the return

down court with a winner's easy gait -

all these are a part of

some other game, another time,

a poem I will not write.

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