artwork: ralph murre
Having It Out With Baseball
by Mariann Ritzer
First of all, your balls are too small
(even as a kid I sensed this)
and your bats are either skinny as swamp
reeds or heavy and thick like a leg
that’s fallen asleep.
Through adolescence I tried to play
your game. From left field I swatted
at flies and mosquitoes, daydreamed
about the perfect catch, holding on
while summers simply wilted away.
When that small ball finally did come,
it fell into the path of the blinding sun
and landed behind me instead of placing
itself into the oiled softness
of my waiting glove.
At the batter’s box I waited too,
my legs spread, straddling home plate,
my hands holding the bat just so.
But even then we couldn’t meet each other
halfway. Either I was too early or it
was too late. And like Miss Havisham’s
Estella, the years haven’t softened my heart
towards you. There are no great expectations.
Sure, your plump hotdogs are as close
to heaven as I’ll ever get –
but they cost me
And, yes, when it’s finally time
for your seventh inning stretch, it feels
as good as a full body massage,
but it doesn’t make up for your one
fatal flaw – it simply takes you too long
to get the job done.
~ first published in Page 5