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Homage to a Vacant Lot
By Larry Moffi

Mr. and Mrs. Davies live upstairs.
He follows the Dodgers. She follows
him. She works for Aetna, he
for The Travelers. They do what
nobody bothers to ask, the paperwork
of other people's lives in offices
where colleagues are legion. Twice
each summer they go off on her company
sponsored trip, or his, cardboard valise
holding them up on the corner
until the blue tobacco bus takes them
away: Boston, a long weekend.

Otherwise, he drinks beer and smokes
five solid months on the porch,
Brooklyn on the radio, the mourning
of the pennant race. Drunk, especially
drunk, he dispenses his portion of wisdom,
the philosophy of the all-important loss
column, "losses being what kill you,
you can make up a win but never a loss."
Or else I am shagging flies he lifts
high across the vacant lot. "Two hands!"
he shouts, "Two hands!" And I try.


LARRY MOFFI is the author of three collections of poems, most recently A Citizen's Handbook, and two nonfiction books on baseball, This Side of Cooperstown: An Oral History of Major League Baseball in the 1950s, and Crossing the Line: Black Major Leaguers, 1947–1959. His poems have appeared in such magazines as Poetry, The Ohio Review, TriQuarterly, The Antioch Review, Crazy Horse, and California Quarterly. He has a new book on the office of the baseball commissioner due out later this year from Brassey's.

© 2003 Larry Moffi


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