WHEN NOVAK SHOOTS (basketball)

When Novak shoots the ball,
it rises from the reeds of his fingers
to take flight, briefly, across
the suddenly silent and expectant air.
Eighteen thousand pairs of eyes
watch its flight line, holding their collective breath
as the ball travels a much-practiced arc.
Time suspends as hope reaches its apogee,
then spirals down to rest in the soft webbing below.
The hunters of victory explode,
screaming, roaring, stamping their feet
to celebrate successful completion of the shot.
Novak makes his traditional show of triumph,
a pantomime trophy belt swipe
to show he has bagged yet another score.
Thirty seconds later, the shooting rite
is to be repeated to the ear-splitting
ovation of the the frenzied, rabid, followers.