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87 Jump Shots, a poem by Matthew Miller

87 Jump Shots

arc silently in April’s breeze, some

bank off the muffled glass, some

clatter around and out. My hands

drum the ball over cracks, dribbles

echo back over unplanted

furrows. I am alone in the evening, tentative and 

grateful. Dandelions pick up yellow 

heads for the storm, hoping the 

incoming wind notices them, throws their

jagged leaves. The spring gusts

knock off my aim, ricochets bounce 

longer and air balls blow further into the

mulberries. I am shooting to see what

number I can reach before

one of my sons interrupts me. I hear them

playing piano, fingers so

quickly plucking out allegro

rhythms. Crossover and swish,

staccato beats on the concrete,

ticking like a metronome. Moments

undisturbed vary between mint and

vinegar, refreshing then acrid

when I know that I cannot

xerox these afternoons when they are

young, oblivious to how often I miss, just so

zealous to chase my rebounds down.

Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry—all hoping to create home. He and his wife live beside a dilapidating orchard in Indiana, where he tries to shape dead trees into playhouses for his four boys. His poetry has been featured in Whale Road Review, River Mouth Review, EcoTheo Review and Ekstasis Magazine.