Stopped Clock / Michelle Castleberry




If the concept of eternal return is true
then right now, the same as in January, 1986
my sister and father  are watching basketball.
The Celtics versus the Pistons.
The players sprint in blue, white and green
between the goals,  the squeak
of athletic shoes trailing behind them.
Daddy slurps his snack of cornbread
and buttermilk. Sissy tumbles a Ziploc bag
half-filled with water between her hands,
fidgety because the Celtics are down.

The frog-drone of sportscasters blankets them,
along with a blue wash of tv light.
The sports channels beam from a “high satellite”
which the wide, white dish in the yard tilts
all the way up to catch, like a child seeking
the origin of a raindrop.

Wind catches the lip of the dish, shifts it
and Larry Bird’s body undulates with static.
The game tilts, bodies dissolve and cohere.
It is important to note that the sports satellite
is close, at least on the dial, to the porn satellite.
The game commentary slides under  the image
of a barely scrambled threesome.
“The rookie’s looking good.”
“Johnson pulls up…and…misses the shot.”
Or Hypatia Lee chants the fourth vowel of the alphabet
over and over again, while Kevin McHale
(who, incidentally, resembles Peter North)
squints, aims a layup.

And some people say there is never enough time…

The two figures in the lenticular light
have been paralyzed for  most of eternity 
and then some, playing chicken
with their own embarrassment
until Daddy utters one syllable,
that alpha and omega
of all awkward moments…

“Well,”

which my sister takes as her cue
to dash outside in coat and gowntail.
She places one small hand 
on the burning cold metal dish,
wiggles it,  looks hard toward the house.

Daddy, from inside, hollers “ok”
into the fireplace where the sound rebounds
up the chimney and out,
arcs into the night air
then lands, all net,
into her upturned ear.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure l was watching that same Celtics game and I'm certain I have seen Madame Lee perform, just not simultaneously. Your poem made me feel like I was in that room in which case I would have said "Well" as well. Thanks for a great poem!