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