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The Baserunner
By Kim Chapman

We stood in that thick light of late day
throwing the ball down the sidewalk,
playing "Pickle," the game of stolen bases,
arms flinging the ball away like a thing
you had to get rid of, the splat in the mitt
resounding off the porches and doors
of houses lining the street, as shadows
of trees grew long and the sun sparked
in the eyes of the boy facing west, until
at last, we saw in the dance of the runner,
the lifted foot, the swung shoulder
dodging the deft tag, a motion coalesce
like mist on evening lawns, touched
by grace, tied up with time and carried
through the years to the present where,
eyes closed against the light, I see
the solemn joy of him, a character
of fiction and unbounded love.


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 grownup he behaves more responsibly, teaching in the biology department of Macalester College. He lives with his wife and two children in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

© 2002 Kim Chapman


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