Ibn al Haytham - The First Scientist - Alhazen - Ibn al Haitham - Alhacen  


on the line, the shooter
digs his narrow, sneakered toe
into the playground’s moist, black soil
and crouches over the sparkling
clutter of glass.

Back see saw straight and tipped,
he dips and cocks his small, blond head,
searching for the hidden corridor,
the secret seam that leads
beyond the simple, direct hit to
the all important ricochet
that will leave his glass circle-center, set
for subsequent shots.

His glimmering eyes
dart, dart. Overhead, a bee
zigs and zags, throwing its oblong shadow
across and around the glistening spheres.
Nearby, a defeated competitor,
watching, coughs.
Still nothing.
Has the pressure of the city championship
locked this ordinary game
into a glittering chaos? Or has Fate,
in a moment of benevolence, decided
to isolate these curious, light filled seconds
to instruct the boy, and, later,
hearten and invigorate the aging man?

No matter—he already has spotted the angle.
Instantly, practiced fingers pluck
the polished ball from the cool earth,
cradle it on clammy joints until
nail and blistered cuticle compress
against the crystalline bulge.
He closes one eye, aims, and fires
his turquoise swirl
dead at the inside edge
of an orange cat’s eye.

Splick, splick:
one glass glances centerward as imagined, the other
kisses a lavender purie
and bores through the ring of chalk that separates
this dusty surface from the remainder of the universe,
this moment
from the balance of time.

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Copyright © 2008 by Bradley Steffens

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