In the Garden
(for Bill Russell)

The ghosts in this place
were active, malevolent
to visitors.

In here ordinary human
nerves were never the cause
of shots arcing slightly flatter
than they should falling just
short of the mark
brushing futilely
off the rim.
In here the smartest enemy players
heard voices
seducing them into
not just mistakes
but boneheaded errors of legend.

In here shadows reached out to
tip passes off line; parquet
floorboards twisted themselves
to keep the ball in play
or not, depending.

In here phantoms fouled
the home team; the refs,
blinded, obligingly whistled.

In here
journeymen posted career numbers
and mortals
slipped into uniforms
that made them

Michael J Barney

If you've any comments on this poem, Michael J. Barney would be pleased to hear from you.

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