THE OTHER GAME (basketball)

In winter with no wind,
the ocean and the sand
lie flat, lie parallel and only
the poor patrol the boardwalk.
Here, meandering, the refugees
from nursing homes or homeless,
trudge or sit on benches in clothing
not warm enough for the cold,
pressing the occasional passer-by for change.
On the beach a man plays
a solitary game of basketball,
shooting and mostly missing
the wire garbage can.
Here, in Far Rockaway,
the solitary player
enjoys his own shoot-around,
with only the floating gulls
flapping and clapping for him.