Possibly a Ball Game ~ Brad Clompus


Doesn’t matter, exactly,

if you got it right, if

the ball field was

meager or luxuriant,

this block or that.

Maybe strikes were called,

or maybe you just stood

there, holding back,

kept waiting for exactly

what you wanted, then

bailed when the curve                        

ball contrived to curve.                                               .


My glove was probably

dirty, beginning to crack

for lack of protective oil.

I wouldn’t take advice

on wrapping the ball tight

in its grasp, binding

the glove in string

for a while, letting

it sit alone, until leather

softened as needed.

Served anyway, shield

against glare, scourge

of whirling gnats.


So likely dusk

on a weed-ridden lot

overdue for reseeding.

I could say the papers

got it right, about a flaring

object transiting above,

bound for the North Woods—

but then you would miss 

the actual smoke and

sparks and commotion

that spewed behind it,

even the awful florid

trajectory, the improbable

slowness of a foreign

body hurled our way.


Unguided, we might

have stalled our play

and simply gaped, heads

creased back on necks,

skimpy arms tensed to catch

what no longer could be

caught, before we had

to tell our own families

we’d seen something

no one’s going to believe,

that a fireball transected

the sky sheltering our                                                 

game, that afterwards we

resumed without any due                                                      

exhalation. And when                                                

it gets really dark, probably

no one’s willing to call it

quits, as if the ball couldn’t

be a meteor curving in,

making us flop into sweet                  

floury dust, making us

dumb to the next pitch.