"I Have Been Given a Baseball ... "

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 3 2007 7:20 AM

"I Have Been Given a Baseball ... "

Click here   to listen to Alan Michael Parker read this poem.

emblazoned with a map of the New York City subways,

a novelty item complete with the violet
No. 7 line, the train that clatters out to Shea.
Too often in the '70s in the rain

I saw the Mets lose there,
among anonymous fans
under orange and blue umbrellas

or the occasional grocery bag.
There's a woman I know now
whose son has died:

she should have the ball.
In the stadium this evening
the anonymous fans are hiding

under orange and blue umbrellas
or the occasional grocery bag,
and I can see her son

happy there, at last,
fidgety in the bleachers.
The lights light up the field

perfectly in the buggy, humid night—
it's like being inside a pretty thought.
When the small, sodden crowd—

are they angels?—
begins to chant Let's Go Mets,
someone changes the chant to Let's Go Home.

What would she do with the ball?
Whatever she wants,
whatever we do with anything.

Alan Michael Parker, the Douglas C. Houchens Professor of English at Davidson College, has published seven collections of poems including Long Division; his third novel, The Committee on Town Happiness, will be published next year.

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