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Baseball Poetry

Second Baseman
By James Hubley


Hanoi, Vietnam
November 1995
Your father was always at your games,
screaming at the umpires,
or at you when you couldn't turn a double play.
He had been a second baseman too.
I wondered if he embarrassed you.
Probably not.
You were a lot like your father:
loud, chippy, and swaggering.
The only fans you two had were each other.
When I heard you enlisted,
volunteered for airborne and Vietnam,
I was not surprised.
When I learned you were killed
on Hamburger Hill,
I wondered if your father screamed at Nixon.

Today I am in the capital city of the country
we could not defeat,
and I am thinking about you
booting a grounder behind the bag,
your father standing in the bleachers screaming;
and about you
dead on that horrible hill,
and your father
old, alone,

and silent.


JAMES HUBLEY, a native of Fairmont, Minnesota, served with the U. S. Army in Vietnam. In 1995, he returned to that country. He currently lives in Marshall, Minnesota, where he tells stories, advocates for veterans, and teaches English at Southwest State University.

© 1999 James Hubley


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