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You know the sound—
the clang as the ball bounces off the rust-colored hoop.
The backboard, faded with use, trembles.
You feel it vibrate.
On the rebound, you throw again.
In your mind, the ball soars through the hoop;
a satisfying swish.
Instead, the ball ricochets, landing in the mud; it splatters.
When you pick it up, the ball is caked with mud.
You sigh, and turn to head back.
In the distance, there is a rumble of thunder
And yet…
the muddy ball flies,
flecks of dirt trailing in its wake.
You watch as the ball’s path forms a perfect arc;
your heart leaps.
Once again, you think of the ball soaring through the air,
and passing through the hoop.
This time, you hear it swish.

Goes the Ball Richard Ma
Richard Ma, 12
Kirksville, Missouri

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