Vol. 3, No. 1: Rainbow Curve photo

Lane ViolationJo Angela Edwins

How many days I would sit in a cushioned

chair, teasing lines into the loose cloth

of a poem. Outside, the thrumming rhythms

of a boy’s basketball stitched their way

into the warp and weave of words.

A blessing, sometimes. Sometimes, a curse,

and then I would snap the notebook shut,

move on to mindless chores.

Never once did I rush to the doorway,

scream at the street in some rough trochee

of that leather bounce, convince the bored kid

I was mad, or merely old.


What a surprise when I saw him one day—

alone, his loose head bobbing, his steps slow,

his ball the colors of an American flag

dropping and rising in that still steady rhythm.

I drove past him slowly, on my way out of town.


Tonight, in the dark of a late autumn evening,

I turn down a different street to get home.

On a corner boys aim their lanky arms

at a hoop tacked into a tree,

a hoop in the dusk I can’t see.

They step to the sidewalk the closer

my car comes to their tight island,

its in-between world. Of a sudden

there flies in my path the striped ball,

the boy behind it. For an instant the planet

rolls loose as an acorn on the asphalt.


I tumble from the car. Behind me, the boy wails

but stands still, his hands gripping the flattened ball.

Seconds pass. No one around us speaks a word.

High above us, stars glisten across America.

We can’t see them for the wide hands of the trees.