Winter 1988 • Vol. X No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1988 |

My Father Playing Pool

Effect and cause were the religion of hands He'd trained to guide his heavy cue Hard ballward, straight or with a glancing skip. We knew each error; balls fell or didn't; "True" had meaning. My father's eye discerned, From light's strewn angles, the table's slightest tilt, And found the answers to the table's worst lies. "Kissing" was the pure-toned clack of ball to ball, And each kiss clacked as cleanly as the last. If he found the table's surface wasn't just, He'd thud to his knees to tune its ideal world. His knotted form would bunch beside the slate, And fingers' delicate ridges graze the felt, To cure the hiccuped ball or curvature of path. From each made shot, his cue swung up And dipped downrail for the next quick stroke. Balls raced to corners and dropped as plumb as weights Solemnly lowering in clocks; the rolling spheres' Configurations shook and rattled and jerked, Their constellations dying by Newton's laws. His cue's resounding whack taught them their paths, Correcting

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Effect and cause were the religion of hands He'd trained to guide his heavy cue Hard ballward, straight or with a glancing skip. We knew each error; balls fell or […]

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