Poetry 2013 / Volume 44

The Big Guys at Bat — James Hazen

After school, the baseball field was ours
a while, a battleground for third-grade
gangs, imaginary tanks. We fought our
wars with sandwich bags filled up with dust.

We threw, shouted, covered up our eyes.
Then you big guys came with uniforms,
cars, cheerleaders, coaches, a whole valise
of clean white balls, and bats as big as us.

You took the field in sharp cleats, in shirts
with printed names like Lefty, Curly, Spike.
Your pitches burned too fast for us to see,
but none of you, I know, ever struck out.

We watched your high-school games in awe
and climbed the bleachers slowly to a higher
and a higher view. You big guys climbed
right up to heaven too, though evening fell.

We ate our Orange Skyrockets just before
they melted in our hands, but the passing
years stole you away. Some of us went out
to take your places, but it never was the same.

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