Westwind

Michael Jordan

Kyle Moreno

I.

Wasn’t it the way he stopped dead

at the top of the key

in the thick of a fast break

as physics carried every human

defender past him in a blur—

even our eyes trained on 23

had to back up to center him—

the ball palmed like a yo-yo

in his hand and us agape

at how his knees didn’t buckle,

ankle wouldn’t snap in its pivot,

how he never even needed arms

to draw circles in the air

for balance like the rest of us

(walking a drunk line

or falling backwards in a pool)—

the trick of his equilibrium

and each motive to score

soothsaid by his tongue

lolling the rim of his lip

like a logo or swished net.

 

II.

Was there ever anyone

so unmoved by gravity,

so happy in this air

between wax and rafter

at the top of the key, this firmament

he ascended for each jump shot and hung

until that cruel gravity

he never endorsed

unwinged his opponent,

dropped him to the earth

like a deviled seraph.

And how he’d unhinge

the lever of his wrist

like he was waving at someone small

or far beneath him, his eyes fixed

on the rim, his tongue, dry as nylon,

readied for the small meal of three,

and how then he’d slake a blessing of sweat

onto the limbs of those fouling below.

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