Early Afternoon

No softball for them,
Not yet, never they’ll tell you ….

Baseball, their game since pre-teen years
And now in late thirties, early forties ….

It must be baseball,
Scores low, no blooping pitches,
Baseball, the scuffed white baseball
On a sun-hardened field ….

Now, in downtown shade,
Before driving to the distant park
They sit, paunches over black-belted
Clean white uniform pants,
Sneakers on, spikes later.

The paunches.
Red uniform shirts bulge bellies.

But it will not be softball –
Baseball weekends,
No women near,
None will be in the stands,
A fan, friend, watching, maybe ….

Paunchy men declaring their
Gray hair, edged faces,
Puffy arms, thick legs
Are baseball’s parts –
And they take the game.
Theirs.
Toss the morning coffee cups,
Lift the ball, bat, and glove canvas bags,
Drive away –
Warm-up before the early afternoon start –
Sweat to come,
Spit,
Arms, legs twitching ….

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, late June 2012

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Gene Novogrodsky

Eugene "Gene" Novogrodsky, a Brownsville resident for nearly three decades, writes North American border slices, from eastern Canada to central Mexico, and in between. He is one of the founders of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center Writers Forum in San Benito. He sometimes participates with the informal Resaca Writers Group in Brownsville. He prefers, however, to read to two or three attentive listeners - when asked!

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