Measured Form

Measured Form | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A deflated soccer ball lays in a street in a former mining town in northern Chile’s Atacama Desert. Courtesy of Jorge Saenz/Associated Press.

The children have left the red ball
disintegrating in the backyard.
Half-gone, it’s a dimpled dome

for dead grass, brittle and yellow—
Even the cows would pass if it were offered them.
Below the grass, root networks, weeds-

in-waiting. Below that, more dirt, rock, clay.
Everything needs to rest, needs to die.
It’s terrible having to go on

knowing what happens here,
the red ball becoming
less and less itself, less red, not a ball

at all (not at all a ball) just junk, likely
an embarrassment to whoever’s
yard this is. Why haven’t they picked up the ball?

[written into the form of “The Snow Man” by Wallace Stevens]

Devin Becker is the author of the poetry collection Shame | Shame and the creator of CTRL+Shift.
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