At California and Twenty Third
for Skip Dilliard


All because
he missed
not one
but two lousy
free throws

Money
headed to the bank
went to jail

just fish-hooked
his followthrough
a soft lazy rainbow

arching down toward
an illumined pot of gold

no swish
only rim

and clanged
uncharacteristic backspin
off sober
heartless steel.

Last time we looked
his chance to
redeem himself
clear his name
fell short

like the nervous
heavy brick
he put up
from the line

zero pressure
alone.