Another evening down at the ballpark—
While waiting in my car outside your house
I counted thirteen wrinkled ticket stubs
I’d tucked inside the glovebox after games
to serve as some reminder of the season
so far. Or, maybe just some evidence
of time that’s passed. And even now it’s only June.
We rode the seven miles to Arvest Park
in silence following an aborted
attempt at conversation. Who hurt who?
A highschool marching band was limping through
the national anthem while we found our seats,
you without your hand above your heart,
though mine is always covered by my cap.
After the inning ends I go in search
of nachos drenched in neon processed cheese
and speckled lightly by jalapenos.
The lines are long but I don’t mind the wait—
The urge for haste is not rewarded here.
I settle back into my seat as you
return from touching up your melting face.
I smell your sweat and sweet electric soap
a shade of pink I know without seeing.
We laugh as children spin their heads on bats
and dizzily stumble slow across the field
as entertainment after innings end.
There hasn’t been a hit all night so I
don’t blame you when you fall asleep against
my arm. We get a chance to laugh again
before the seventh inning stretch at one
ungainly man who mounts the first base dugout,
his date confused but smiling as he kneels
and pulls a velvet box from shorts a hue
of plaid so bright they ripple on the screen.
A gesture as severe as this must not
be done without some long consideration,
but still the crowd is quiet, patient, waiting.
She throws her arms around the kneeling man
and we let out our breath as one, relieved
and glad. You look at me and I at you,
sneering at joy achieved so crudely
on a jumbo screen in a minor league park
on a Wednesday, in June.