Hound of the Basketballs

The evil legend lingers on the court
And puts the minds of both teams on defense.
Truth and dark falsehood here are hard to sort—
But even skeptics now have some gray sense
That a hound black, ferocious, and immense
Appears here when the game’s at fever pitch.
It vomits up impossible events.
It makes fans shout foul words: “Son of a bitch!”
Nowadays, no game goes without a hitch.
Nowadays, players know unceasing dread.
Cheerleaders guys don’t need: they need a witch—
Or else a priest.  The coaches turn up dead.
The referees run screaming and go mad.
Sportswriters stay away from news so bad.

Tom Riley has pub­lished well over 700 poems in venues rang­ing from The Lyric to Light to Angli­can The­o­log­i­cal Review. He teaches Clas­si­cal lan­guages and Eng­lish lit­er­a­ture in Napa, California.