Often, I shall revisit this raw error.
And, whereas, I can no longer
remember a name, for some reason
I can never quite forget the time
you once steppedthinner, taller,
more than twice my ageover
the shorn hills lilac shell,
seemingly without sound.
I must have been sixteen or so.
I see you slip nearer, onto
the churchs fresh cement...
And I had been hit up for money
by strangers there before, but Id seen
your face. Wed met. Id gathered in
all the brash stories of that marred,
final year: Senior season, how you led
the home team through to their last
championship, in spite of the risks,
the same bad arch, so there were no
clumsy attempts at chit-chat, no
requisite effort to grab the rebounds,
or false flattery of my form, only
the chill, level focus of our need.
I recall I had some cash, but
for once I felt on that night.
I said we should play ball for it,
knowing you werent all
youd been, betting you might
be too desperate not to find out.
Goddammit if you didnt win,
if I didnt take back the money,
press you to play me for it again.
_ The poem, including the title, is an anagram
of the first and the penultimate paragraph
of the first chapter of W.E.B. DuBois Souls of Black Folk.
Mike Smith | Mudlark No. 30
Contents | Snapshots