Hated baseball - everything about it.
Hated the walk down Avenue A
to a field painted with white caulk
into the shape of a diamond –
Boys in matching suits praying, asking God
for a home run, making the sign of the cross
as they approached the batters box.
Loathed baseball - everything about it.
Frozen flavored ice pops, fudge bars, or a
Milky Way made me stay.
All that noise! Spectators screaming, parents
complaining, pleading to place their son
in the game.
Those same parents stood tall
when the National Anthem played - near
center field the American Flag blew -
Hated baseball - anyone there…
Italian ice – squeezed white cups, it drips
over the edge, lick it, lick it. . .
Mama - she loved it - all of it.
She screamed when a boy struck out, or waved
her arm’s into the air, swearing at the ump.
Mama - she jumped highest when it was her
son who made a home run.
She loved baseball - she wanted to play too.
Mama believed women should coach baseball.
One day I got my way - we left early
because scraps of paper - paper from
my Milky Way Bar - twisted in circles -lifted
up from the pavement…
The air was thick like paste and Mama knew.
Mama told others, “A storm is brewing.”
The women in the bleachers laughed.
Mama knew and grabbed my hand -
tugged me into the cement clubhouse…
you see - no one listened to Mama.
Not women selling candy or those frying dough.
Not one yelling to her son to throw the ball right and
look at the catcher…
You see - they laughed at Mama’s fear.
Women laughed as we entered the clubhouse -
laughed so hard their stomach’s giggled.
Mama and I gazed through a small peephole
near the big black frying pans where pizza fête fried…
we saw people running, and then the crowd inside
the clubhouse began to grow, and air grew thin…
No one cared about the pitcher, or who was the referee…
No one noticed the American Flag when it lifted from the
metal pole, and no one noticed all the boys searching
for their parents…
Rooftops were blown from buildings tossed like toys
into streets, markets exploded, and homes turned on
their own foundations.
The game was over.
Crystals of rain slammed against the cement structure.
Wind blew against the backs of those who wouldn’t listen.
The skies turned to midnight.
Women who laughed - pounded on the door to
squeeze fat bodies into thin spaces.
You see I hated baseball.
I hated baseball. But, I hated storms even more.
Mama knew it.
Mama knew I'll never like baseball.
But, most of all - I'll never listen to women who laugh.
Nancy Duci Denofio
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