“Baseball’s Back” — a poem by Susan Dale

April 6th, 2015

 

Baseball’s Back

 

Baseball’s back

It’s crackling on a radio

Sitting by a canning jar filled with fireflies

A barefoot summer, always afternoon in voluptuous-full July.

The screen door slams and flies scatter

A stick and ball routine with umpteen possibilities

Written in the DNA of the Americas

Understood by us before birth.

The ball hit to strike one, to be caught by the short stop for an out

“You dirty chump!”

Or to ball four, and a base is taken, another stolen

The ball up and over the wall for the home run announced by a bugle and a tom-tom pounding in the back bleachers

The ball soars on and on___ across the Atlantic. And doesn’t come down until it reaches Hemingway’s Cuba,

where boys with gloves and bats chase, to catch it

in the front yard of the Finca Vigia

Another ball tossed to be caught

An organ is playing in the background

And the ball is dropped by the second baseman

To be argued by a skipper kicking dirt at the umpire

Who sends him to the dug out

Where he rings up a call

to the mound

to demand the ball from a tobacco-chewing pitcher

Who shame-facedly hands it over

before he slinks down to the dug out

Backwards in time, a game of our fathers and our fathers before them

It carried us through two world wars and the depression

In our father’s fields, in newly-scythed meadows

In the Elysian fields of Hoboken, New Jersey,

In bleachers so close to the mound you could reach out and touch the umpire

In state-of-the-arc parks bursting in fireworks and scoreboards with digital imaging

Yet and still, there’s the naked silence between “he deals and … ”

“Down in the front, beer man.”

The groans, the hutzpahs, hands in the air- hurrahs

Ahh-hh, yet and again, and finally, baseball’s back

_____

Susan Dale’s poems and fiction are on WestWard Quarterly, Ken *Again, Penman Review, Inner Art Journal, Garbanzo, and Linden Avenue. In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan. She has two published chapbooks on the internet: Spaces Among Spaces by languageandculture.org and Bending the Spaces of Time by Barometric Pressure.

*

The 1958 New York Yankees sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on the Ed Sullivan Show

 

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