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POETRY

Radio Ball
By David Rogner

After nine o'clock, with the radio
positioned properly, the game was almost
audible. Dad raised it from kitchen counter
to refrigerator top, where baseball crackled on
with greater clarity. Three extra feet helped
pull the signal from another state, but still
Detroit pulsed through a humming tube
as something distant, intermittent, alien.

Perched on a kitchen chair, red sneakers
dangling inches from the floor, I watched him
play a game of infinite refinement. Arms up,
he turned the box first one way, then another.
Fingers made hair-breadth adjustments to a dial,
tilted the antenna ten degrees. Balance achieved,
he eased away, hands motionless and poised,
a choreographer of static. Still it came and went.

But from the wind-up fouled off strike swing
and a double play could be ball two there it goes
we assembled something. When a pitch landed in
oblivion we imagined the count. For minutes
we endured the fade-out at the warning track—
Six to four? Two runs score? Slams the door?—

wondering whether we should realign, take
chances with our game, risk losing what we had.

—EFQ


DAVID ROGNER, an Illinois native, grew up listening (with his late father) to Ernie Harwell's broadcasts of Detroit Tigers games and has been a lifelong fan of that team. He now lives in Oak Park, Illinois, where he teaches English at Concordia University in River Forest. His poems have appeared in journals such as Chelsea, Rosebud, Mid-America Poetry Review, and RE:AL.

© 2002 David Rogner

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