THE FINAL SEASON
Patches of crabgrass
cover the base path
like a young man’s scraggly beard
or a twelve-year-old’s first signs
The paint on the dugouts and bleacher seats
has long peeled away
exposing gray weathered wood;
chain link backstop coated orange with rust
trellises interlacing ivy; the outfield covered
in a pungent bouquet of wild onions.
Baseball was my first love,
followed the 1962 New York Yankees
all summer long
with my GE 6-transistor radio;
persevered from room to room
in search of steady reception;
ear pressed to the 3-inch speaker
to discern Mel Allen
from the roller coaster surges of static.
Summer of ’67—
metallic odor of neat's-foot oil breaking in
my brand new Mickey Mantle autographed
Rawlings deep-pocket leather glove.
My exaggerated sidearm motion
scared them off the plate,
garnered a perfect game
on opening day, striking out fifteen.
My father had left after the fourth inning,
“Felt like rain,” he said,
but it was the compelling lure of Budweiser,
rivaled by none
that pulled him away;
couldn’t wait to give him the good news.
“Well you don’t have to brag about it!”
quelled all notions
of the father/son moment
that existed only in my dreams.
I was awarded the team MVP
at the end of the year;
my accomplishments inscribed
on the game ball from that occasion;
a fitting conclusion
my final season…
There will be no game today,
but I don’t mind.
Smells like rain anyway.
Ben Rasnic is originally from Jonesville, a small rural town in extreme southwestern Virginia. Currently, he resides in Bowie, Maryland, and crunches numbers for a paper recycling company. His poems have appeared in numerous online and print journals.
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