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BASEBALL POETRY

Another April Will Come
By Gene Fehler

April is a beginning, my dad used to tell me,
teams finally up north from spring training,
settling in on Opening Day in one of the fourteen
ballparks. Would have been sixteen, he said,
but the Cards and Browns shared Sportsman's Park
in St. Louis; the A's and Phillies, Shibe Park
in Philadelphia. Now there is no beginning, he says,
only a bleeding of one sport into another.
I try to recapture it, but it's dying, he says,
just like I am, and I move closer to him, reach
for his hand, limp on the hospital sheet. His thin
fingers seem fragile, almost delicate. It hasn't been
that long ago that those fingers inside his old,
beaten-up catcher's mitt caught my fastest pitch
with ease. Not that long ago his fingers tossed the ball
back to me straight and true.

April is a beginning, he used to say, and on this
afternoon in late March I wonder how much time
he has, how much time we both have. I know
Opening Day is a little over a week away. I know
how much it will mean to him to look up at that now
dark screen and see that first pitch one last time,
even though it will come from someone who hadn't
even been born yet when Don Larsen pitched
that perfect game Dad told me about so many times,
and I lean over and say, Hang in there,
Dad. Hang tough. April is almost here.

—EFQ


GENE FEHLER's third collection of baseball poetry Dancing on the Basepaths was recently published by McFarland. His nonfiction book Tales From Baseball's Golden Age was published in 2000 by Sports Publishing Inc.

© 2001 Gene Fehler

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