Ballplayer Poem by Evie Shockley


Rating: 3.2

i cop a squat on a squared-off log,
to watch you ball on the community center court.
butt numb, i shift my weight

and shake mosquitos from my ankles,
but never take my eyes off the game.
yours follow the orange orb, your pupils
twin, brown moons reflecting its light.

your play is wild efficiency,
you are a four-pronged magic wand,
waving, as if agentless, in all directions at once.
an opponent dribbles the ball - now he sees it,

now he don't, it's gone, flown,
and you've given it its wings.
you are one-eighth of the shrieking rubber,

one-eighth of the growls and calls. you are
the delicious assist, the unerring pass.
you spread your skills out before me, a peacock
among pigeons, as if to say "all eyes on me,"

and make it worth my while.
a chill trails the sun west like a long, clammy train,
crawls over me and my makeshift bench,
over the emptying playground,

but stops at the edge of the concrete,
where eight men burning keep it at bay,
the way torches smoking around a patio

ward off insects. twilight rises like dark steam
from the dewy grass, but you don't see it.
the ball still lights the court
until the winning jumper sinks and puts it out.

then earth returns to view, and you jog over
to slap my palm and beam,
and receive the grin i give you like a trophy.

Kim Barney 22 June 2015

I really like this. You have talent. I love baseball and softball and most other kinds of ball games, too, yet I think I only have written one poem about playing ball. You have inspired me to write more. Thanks!

2 4 Reply
Bernard F. Asuncion 30 December 2017

Evie, such a profound poem👍👍👍

1 2 Reply
Glen Kappy 30 December 2017

Don’t know if you’ll see this comment, Evie, but if you do... Having spent who knows how many hours playing pick-up basketball, I definitely could relate to and enjoy your fine description. The shape of the poem as well and its natural flow also reflect your craft. Good stuff! -GK

2 1 Reply

You capture the spirit of the game in your poem...a ten..

1 1 Reply
Edward Kofi Louis 30 December 2017

Wild efficiency! ! Thanks for sharing.

2 1 Reply
Deepak Kumar Pattanayak 30 December 2017

The feelings and fun and the excitement of the game of ball and ballplayer is so beautifully narrated........simply speechless.........thanks for sharing

2 1 Reply
Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley

Nashville / Tennessee / United States
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