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Something About Certain Baseball Fields
By Bill Meissner

He doesn't know why he suddenly turns off the freeway,
steps out of his long, shiny car, drops his
keys that bury themselves in the soft dirt of the lot.
He tugs at the tie that's always knotted tightly
at his throat, strolls to the place
where the sunlight plays across the outfield
like pale yellow music, where
grass blades applaud subtly in the wind.

He remembers standing on fields like these as a kid
in a frayed Little League shirt, his cap sideways on his head.
He'd run for that high pop-up,
a precious leather jewel he always seemed to catch.
He thinks how easy it is to miss
a life, to stand empty-handed for years beneath
an avalanche of sales slips and jagged envelopes.
Now his three-piece suit seems to melt off, pool at his feet,
and he's naked.

As if pulled by a cord tied to the earth of center field,
he kneels down, curls up.
He feels the slow pain, then a sudden brightness
fills his eyes:
he takes the first quick gasp of air as the world
gently slaps him.
At last he can open his lungs
wide and cry, a cry that might, from across the field,
sound almost like a cheer.




BILL MEISSNER teaches creative writing at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. His book of baseball short stories, Hitting into the Wind, is available in paperback from Southern Methodist University Press. In pick-up baseball, he still uses a wooden 1978 Dave Winfield Louisville Slugger which has been cracked and repaired three times.

© 2001 Bill Meissner


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