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April 30, 2018 BASEBALL, Poetry

My Father Remembers, Forgets

Kathleen Hellen

My Father Remembers, Forgets photo

Fifty cents for tickets in the bleachers—then. Fifty cents a railroad car to Pittsburgh.
A “marvel” they’d called it. Three tiers of steel, the façade terracotta, the balls off
the deck, bouncing. Fifty cents the cheap seats that excused the old man’s fist, swinging at
the narrow of his shoulders, the old man’s kick to the shin under the table if
he asked for extra helpings. Extra innings like an extra piece of chicken. Winning
like a vat of surplus peanut butter. He remembers Forbes Field, Honus Wagner,
grips the handrails of the Nordic trainer, his sweat pants anchored with a rope. On bats
of whittled bone he drags his duct-taped slippers. It hurts, he says, his bifocals slipping,
his rheumy eyes not blind to crisis in his rattled breathing—hard the ticking of his thin-walled
heart, hard  to witness as he limps. Hum it in, I cheer, although I know that year the Pirates lost
the pennant.



image: Aaron Burch