for Meg


I was good — damn good. I could bat for power

and for average, my arm was strong and true,

my glove as quick as a bullfrog’s tongue. Hours

in the cage, days on the grass — oh, I knew

I was good, all right. But days grew to years,

and shadows spread across the field like stains.

Waiting for the call-up, waiting to hear

my name in echoes, waiting out the rain

delays, hamstring pulls, bad hops — waiting, sick

with waiting — I was no sleek, skinny kid

anymore. At forty the knees played tricks,

the back went bad — high time, I knew, to rid

myself of games, of dreams.

                                               That’s when you called.

The Yankees, you said.

                                       And I said, Play ball.



© Michael Fleming

New York, New York

June 2002


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