In 1954, our small town
Built the largest high school gymnasium
In the whole entire world.
Week by week, eight thousand fans would
Jam the wooden bleachers to marvel
At the ice show, laugh at the circus,
Stream forward for an evangelist’s
Altar call, cheer for the Globetrotters,
And most of all, scream until
They were hoarse, when the
High School boys took the court.
Half a century later, I sit on a
Folding chair behind the baseline
As my angular thirteen-year-old
Head-fakes, then drives the lane.
It is quiet here today. The coach
Concludes the practice and a janitor
Materializes silently to tend the
Sacred parquet floor.
While the boys huddle up,
I walk up to the rafters, and breathe
The heady mix of dust and dreams.
In this place anything can happen.
That’s why they play the games.
That’s why I keep coming back.
This monumental folly of fifties optimism
Is my favorite place in the world.