We--you--hooped at Skinner Park after school.
I got your rebounds, took in the cool April air,
wondered how to interest you in your own life.
The ball--new at Christmas--soared through the crooked metal rim as
you hopped back from your jump shot.
What was left of the net flapped as the ball dropped and--thunk--sank
into the mud at the edge of the blacktop court.
I stepped one foot in to reach the ball,
wiped it in the short grass as you shared your aversion to mud.
"When things get dirty, I toss 'em."
I looked up. Your eyes squinted in the sun, making you seem disinterested.
You stand taller than me, but your honest observation makes me want to believe
You are too young to have meant that metaphorically.