Basketball by G.E.Johnson

Once after dinner a woman and I walked past
An empty basketball court and she says,
"I played on a team my junior year in Belfast,"
And I say "Want to shoot some?" She says "Yes,"
Though she was wearing a long black dinner dress.
She kicked off her high heels and she caught
My pass and with great finesse
Drove to the baseline, jumped and shot
Swish. Two points. We played for awhile,
Man in a black suit, woman in a long black gown,
I loved her quickness and her heads-up style,
Her cool hand as she beat me hands down —
Her jumpiness, like a blackbird in the night—
Her steady eye, her feet about to take flight.


  1. Love this poem and the post below.
    Courage is much on my mind these days too.

  2. Remarkable poem, perfect photo to accompany.

  3. Re-reading my high school journals, I was surprised to encounter pieces where I wrote about pickup basketball games I played with male and female classmates. I initiated these games and picked my teams and recorded whether we won or lost or just had a great time. I had NO recollection of these games until I read about them, and loved that I was strong and confident enough to throw my skinny ass in among some big jock guys who were over six feet tall.


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