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April 27, 2018 BASEBALL


Sammi LaBue

Imposter photo

Inside the chicken wire fence
you and I would practice.

I hated practice,
but I loved you.

And so
we stood there
avoiding dog poop,

and I never told you I was always scared:

Afraid of a crack to my impossibly vulnerable cheek,
my skull.

It didn’t matter that the ball was called a softball.
Because I knew, 
if it hit me, 
it would hurt. 

I always assumed, 
even when I was nine, 
that I was fulfilling something for you. 
A dream that I decided 
all men who 
only have girls
might dream.

I wanted to be something for you,
because you were everything to me.

I stood there,
digging heels into the dry earth,
holding all your pointers in my mind
like stars stuck to a screen of night.
But when I focused on one 
it turned dark.

“If I was your boy,”
I’d think,
“I wouldn’t be afraid.”

So I slapped my fist against the heel of my leather hand, 
and when you called to me, 
from way over by the trampoline,
I nodded 
like a real ball player.
Like someone worthy.


image: Aaron Burch