First baseball game I’ve seen this season– game seven
of the World Series, Houston versus Washington. A sea
of orange in Texas. Scherzer versus Springer. Joe Buck
talks about muscle injections, pinched nerves, breaking
ball– full count. He says this series is full of big swings,
big emotions– isn’t that a normal week? Dad watched
every Cleveland game. Ever. For a summer I did,
too, but October is chillier than usual. Last week, we
buried my oldest brother. We used to play sports
games– Triple Play 2000, Gran Turismo– on the
basement’s cold, brown carpet, where all physics
hurtled toward inevitable destinations: a ball singing
through the air into a blurry glove, or tires spinning
through some grainy tunnel. We’d trade wins, half-
luck, but there was always a conclusion. Last year,
I held his hand in the hospital. He squeezed my
fingers and said what he couldn’t with his eyes.
Last week, he didn’t get the kidney he needed.
When Washington wins, I see men cry on each
other’s shoulders. When my brother dies, my brother
cries on my shoulder. I cry on his shoulder.
And when we look at each other,
we find someone we both miss.
(originally published in Knot Literary Magazine, Fall 2021)
All these quiet prayers
from two thousand miles away
to impact the spin of the ball–
hope that could travel
far enough to land
in the temporary nestle of a net.
(originally published in Triggerfish Critical Review, Winter 2020)
In Kathleen’s apartment in Oregon,
I ask her where even is home?
maybe never knowing.
I see my mom’s mown lawn
in the green fields our baseball
team travels through, my friends
in tweets spitting scores or stats.
These, I don’t care about,
but I join in discussion.
Blue hands to high-five,
then to put my phone down.
(originally published in Hobart, Winter 2018)
A river isn’t really blue. The Mississippi
has dried, and even love is transparent.
We adorn ourselves blue so loss
can be quantified in color. Such
is the brittle paintbrush, naked
and grieving, but we are not
the color of grieving,
nor tobacco spat in the dugout
in shame. We remember
the dirt, and who we loved,
long before we searched
clouds’ faces for ghosts,
her grays in the white
within eternal blue.
(originally published in ‘the vacant hinge of a song’, courtesy of Origami Poems Project)
Motion is sweat
a man’s hand.
Time is a vicious
roar at zero:
we pivot when we miss
our daughters’ first words
for obsessed strangers,
who want what we project
so they can react.
(Originally published in if&when, December 2014)
Sawdust struck our eyes
when his teeth jawed
themselves against our tree.
constricted us like
When he unclasped,
so did we.
Our bodies slackened
like absolved marionettes.
Held beers became
puddles on bar tables.
The yesterdays burnt
wax into our throats.
Today he is Atlas with the city
perched on his shoulders, the Earth
a lacquered basketball. Willingly,
now, we witness and worship his
every move, drawn by an influence
we ourselves do not carry with
every blink, every breath.
(Originally published in altered form in Perspective Literary Magazine – October 1st, 2014)