How to Choose the Next City

Friday, January 15, 2016

Stuck out in the court’s
           fringes again, follow-

through fingers hitched

           below my bottom rib
           like a name buckle

made out of knuckles.
A borrowed ball parked

           in my elbow crook
           & Indy—fractured

           backdrop of 2, maybe 3
taller buildings—

right over the fist of trees where
           some of the ballers

           smoked between runs.

My other hand—wrapped
           around the austere
           questions of cities

we could move to if only
           I could grow & get

my jumper right:
           Cincinnati, Brooklyn,
           nearly Detroit. Away

from Indiana nearsightedness,
away from hooping

           in school shoes
& being picked the one

after last. Always next,
always stuck on the crest
           of the court while

           the real ballers dribbled
& drove through the relentless

humidity, jawed about mamas
& their respective fatness,

           got tangled in sweaty
pageantry—as glimmering

& slick as the mall jewelry
           they borrowed to shine

           for the girls pretending
not to watch. A little city

           of backspun gallantry
& I was too broke
           to get a spot in it.

Friday, January 15, 2016