Fast Break

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, trying 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 lay-up,
 
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 though the net.

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.