When he picks up a branch in his backyard
after a storm, and it’s thick enough to grip
with both hands, it’s now a vaulting pole—
ash becoming aluminum, then Swedish steel,
then fiberglass. He looks up at a telephone wire,
now a crossbar, framed by blue sky . . .
after lunch, on his daily walk, when he steps
on a crack on a sidewalk, he hasn’t broken
his mother’s back, but hit his marker with good
timing, building up speed down the runway.
When he walks upstairs to the living room,
he leans forward, about to take two or three
stadium steps at a time, to get in shape for football . . .
when he’s watching a touchdown run on TV,
he’s ready to stiff-arm a linebacker
or defensive back, just before he crosses
mid-field, or the chalk of the goal line.
When he’s sitting at his desk, he crumples
a piece of paper into a ball, then aims and tosses it
into a waste basket about six feet away—
sinking the winning shot at the buzzer.
When he takes off his glasses while reading,
and touches his forehead, he’s just taken off
his soaked headband after an hour’s
hard workout in a karate dojo.
When he meets a man for the first time,
he shakes his hand and smiles, having just finished,
or started, a racquetball match.