Coming out of Retirement

I immediately can see I’m way out of my league,
but I’ve foolishly promised my cousin I’d join him
at Booth Park for a pick-up game with natural jock him
and some of his friends from high-school balling days.
They shoot like ex-college players or guys too short
to go pro, and I rode the pine all through high school.
I do notice one thing, regarding height, and that’s me.
On our team I’m the tallest – this is surprising, I think,
while an opponent much shorter slam dunks over my head.
They’ve made me play the middle and after ten minutes,
I’m a creamed Kareem, a wilted Wilt, a perishing Parish.
These guys are shorter than me and most look older,
but they play every day here, and I bet they don’t smoke.
I need a breather and slouch to my customary bench seat.
Lighting up, I try to blow the smoke away from the court. 
After this brief return to my dimly recalled basketball past,
I will tell you all about centers that just can’t hold up
and make a sad show of what posts merely standing can be.

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