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Letter to Hugo from Payette, Idaho, Killebrew Field
By Linda Kittell


Dear Dick,

Let's say I came here with a dream. The last
good hit I had came years ago
when I took it all in stride
and swung from the hips. Let's say
the grandstand's still here, not this
pile of paint chips and blanched wood, chicken wire
rustling in the wind. Tonight the outfield's
not gone to weeds and seedlings, outcasts
from the maples that canopy right field. And ants haven't turned
that first base bag into home.

  At the gas station
I learned I should go right,
then straight onto Killebrew Drive. What drive? Nothing here
lasts long enough to be a homer, even lives
turn to fractions, numbers and percentages on the bronze and money
raised with autographs. How important is a name? How long
should I look at a shelf of books, for a self
on the lineup tacked to the dugout?
From where you sit, the light
might be too bright. Where I sit
the concrete roof's too low.
  Out in the bullpen
the tall guy's still tossing. Every night
seems the sameóthat kid comes down and asks
for you by name. You tell him
"Don't think Hugo's playing tonight" then run out
onto the field. I want to run too,
not swing for the fences, but slap
to the hole and tip my cap
from what's left of first base. Then I'll be yours
from ninety feet out, watching for a sign.
  The moon's up there, fat
and round as a kid's dream. Throw it in here,
letter high.




LINDA KITTELL's baseball poems have been published in Aethlon and Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend: Women Writers on Baseball. She lives in Troy, Idaho, with her husband, Ron Goble, and teaches at Washington State University.

© 2000 Linda Kittell


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