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By Kim Alan Chapman

That afternoon the light
of red autumn sank to earth.
We played ball, a batter
and two fielders shagging flies
in long-armed sprints
and dead-tracked lurches after shots
hung up in the arches of elms.
The flat smack like a hand on a table
was the same as alwaysóthe kiss
of wood on leather, then the white flurry
jerking and looming in the grass
like a rabbit dodging what wanted it.
My palm stung the same way
after I caught. In my throwing arm
a twinge of history reminding me
that summer always comes,
the game is the same, the glove
broken in even more, which is good.
We meet ourselves stepping up
to the plate, tapping it, cocking back
and ageless in that eager stance.
Playing deep in autumnís territory
the glove fits the agile hand
as if two hands, joined for comfort.



As a boy growing up near Detroit, KIM CHAPMAN wasted countless hours playing pickup ball games in the park behind his house and idly tossing a ball back and forth with anybody who had arms. As a grown-up he behaves more responsibly, teaching in the biology department at Saint Thomas University. He lives with his wife and two children in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

© 2000 Kim Chapman


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