Foul Shot

by Edwin A. Hoey

With two 60s stuck on the scoreboard
And two seconds hanging on the clock,
The solemn boy in the center of eyes,
Squeezed by silence,
Seeks out the line with his feet,5
Soothes his hands along his uniform,
Gently drums the ball against the floor,
Then measures the waiting net,
Raises the ball on his right hand,
Balances it with his left,10
Calms it with fingertips,
Breathes,
Crouches,
Waits,
And then through a stretching of stillness,15
Nudges it upward.

The ball
Slides up and out,
Lands,
Leans,20
Wobbles,
Wavers,
Hesitates,
Exasperates,
Plays it coy25
Until every face begs with unsounding screams—
And then
And then
And then,
Right before ROAR-UP,30
Dives down and through.

“Foul Shot”
by Edwin Hoey, reprinted with special permission granted by Read Magazine, published by Weekly Reader Corporation. Copyright © 1962, renewed 1990 by Weekly Reader Corporation.