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April 5, 2016 Poetry

The Great American Road Trip

Paul Asta

The Great American Road Trip photo

The Great American Road Trip, or: Ordering Food While My Father Uses the Bathroom at Olive Garden on Our Road Trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY for the First Time

Dear waiter, it’s true: Casey struck out.
But they forgot to say the pitcher used
steroids. Used historical revisionism

before historical revisionism was banned
from the game. My father tells me the game
was so much different back then. My father

who built a shrine to Koufax. Worships it
four nights a week. Kisses the Topps rookie card
as he walks out of the basement—tipping his cap

like Joe Torre coming out of the dugout.
He tells me before I was born, he hoped
I would be a lefty, so I could throw

like a god. But this thunderous arm tops out
at 68 mph, and the only pitch thrown
with any consistency is a suggestion to stop

at the Circle K coming up at the next highway exit.
If you were to meet my father he would tell you
he was never a fan of Mantle, or Jackson, or even

the long ball. Instead give him the painters.
The Carlton’s, the Palmer’s, the Seaver’s.
Give him a pitcher of Coors Light and watch

him take balls at the cages. Give him a scorecard
and the remote, and watch him as he falls asleep
all the way until the All-Star break. This, the same

father that crowds the plate while he’s ahead
in the count with endless salad and breadsticks.
And I, less than a Niekro, less than a Ryan,

I, the right handed failure, am relegated
to the first baseman’s glove—the partial Vulcan
salute. To the grounds crew and batting cleanup

for the dinner table. To acrobat feats I cannot
perform: another double play. Another strike out.
Another 57 games until this season’s over.

image: Tara Wray