I’m never going to hit a baseball
in a perfect upward angle
over the twisting head of a left fielder who takes one step
just in case, to calculate
the arc and the speed of that now elliptical projectile
twisting over the horizon.
That revolution, of my shoulders around my body,
of the interlocking leather
laces around the ball, of my spikes around the base pads,
that opportunity is gone to me.
Gone because I was born left-handed with one bad eye
and taught to throw and hit right.
Gone because I never practiced, obsessively. Gone because
no one gets to keep their first love.
Gone because all things in life are like playing ball.
Even when you are on the mound
twisting your fingers over the laces of the thing trying to find
your grip, you hold nothing
for long. At best it’s a hot potato that must be thrown
round the horn, or brought in,
or cut off, of beaten back with a well-angled stick.
In the rare moments you can hold it,
life or a baseball, it is best done with a thick glove,
dug out of the dirt and brushed off,
picked from the sky and thrown in, fast as you can.
I’ll never write that novel, win the Nobel,
have my work held up as anything other than utility.
The veins on my hands
are starting to pronounce themselves. Mirror desaturates the colors.
Everything’s going grey.
What I’m telling is a fine tale unfolding in the fifth inning,
an interesting brush stroke
or two, the way the paint has dripped and dries
into thick raised lines. What I have now
are things to cheer for from the stands, an imagination smacking
the sound of a balled up fist into a mitt.