Kids Run the Bases

By Fred Dale

They tell us who they will be by first base,

their full lives flashing as they tear through

the air, the impending ache of growing old

climbing through them, planting sorrow

in their haphazard ways. Circling the infield,

they plow a river, fading in a fanned delta,

an act of building land. Some parents notice

us alone, still in our seats. They, like

ourselves, wondering where our children are.

Crenellating across our future memories,

questions of those to come, our prospects

irritated by this flood, this answer

to the spillway’s release. I wait for a child,

the one who goes right through second base

and into left field, happiness jarring her,

overwhelming her, and all of it into our eyes.

She is the absence that makes us cry,

the loss that brings us back to the ballpark

on Sundays, the one we love from afar—

the dreamer running. Parents giving chase.

 

——————

Fred Dale is a husband to his wife, Valerie, and a father to his occasional jerk of a dog, Earl. He is a Senior Instructor in the English Department at the University of North Florida, and an avid cyclist, but mostly, he just grades papers. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Crack the Spine, Chiron Review, Wild Violet Magazine, Indefinite Space, glassworks and others.


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