Welcome to The Madison Review's web series, The Extended Cut, where we showcase exceptional work that was not selected for the fall or spring editions of our journal. This week we are sharing a poem by Stuart Gunter, who will have another of his poems featured in our upcoming Fall 2018 edition. In "August Free Throws", Gunter creates a moving tribute to a mentor through a topic rare to poetry: basketball.
Stuart Gunter resides in Virginia with his wife, two children, two dogs, and two cats. In his free time he enjoys boating and playing drums in "obscure rock bands."
August Free Throws
for Todd Haines
So much, and nothing, depends on this next shot.
Bouncing and rotating this ball until I spin
and arc it through the hot air
toward the red rim, and in. I shoot
nothing but free throws for ninety minutes
showing him the importance of routine.
“Doin’ the work,” Mr. Haines called it.
I sink eleven shots in a row, once. The heat
cloaks me in its yellowing late summer grip.
My shirt drenched in sweat: I wring a quart from it.