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By Joel Peckham

When all the other children had gone home
we walked into the damp, hard consonants
of cold spring rain. The grackles and the gulls
calling in the pines, the crack of damp wood
in my hands—You in flannels pushed up from
your wrists and thick forearms, me in good
slacks, new cleats. Towering sixty feet
away, you were huge to me then—and distant,
calling out directions I couldn't hope to meet—
elbow up, top hand through, relax, head down.
I couldn't make it out. The ball thrown
high and tight or floating off, impossible
to hit. What could I know of contact then
Old man, warm up your arm. Fire one in here again


JOEL PECKHAM recently finished a stint as visiting assistant professor at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where he taught Composition and Western World Literature. This poem is from a sonnet sequence tentatively titled "Infield / Outfield." His poems have been published or are forthcoming in many journals, including Ascent, The Black Warrior Review, The Dalhousie Review, The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, The Malahat Review, Nimrod, Passages North, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, SunDog, The Sycamore Review, The Texas Review, and Yankee.

© 2003 Joel Peckham


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