Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Boy from Barcelona Watches His First Baseball Game (A poem)

Considering the view the bleachers,
he could be in Nebraska. 
He watches the 11-year-olds play ball, 
Little Leaguers who made the B team of summer travel. 
As they round the bases, catch fly balls and strike out, 
the sun is dipping into the horizon, 
forming long shadows across the artificial turf. 
In the distance sprawls acre after acre of farmland preserved 
forever by the Great Garden State of New Jersey.

In the bleachers with him are Americans of every description. He sees the different skin tones and the meditates of the immense fleshiness of American faces,
and he wonders about their stories.

An African-American couple sit close to one another, his right arm encircling her shoulders, his arm that is covered with tattoos of Chinese characters. He just completed two tours of Iraq. 

A tall white man sits beside them. He once played baseball at the University of Florida. In middle age he married a Vietnamese refugee, 
who once was married to a minor leaguer from Central America.

A Jewish family of three children watch intently, the dad standing by the dugout 
offering words of encouragement to his son.

A middle-aged dad born in El Salvador to Pentecostal missionaries sits quietly among them. He teaches Spanish at a public middle school that has seen better days. His son, a much beloved only child, 
has asked his mom not attend the games; he feels too much pressure.

After the game, three big American dads dressed in the bright red team uniform stand in front of the little boys, on a corner of the turf. They have won the game. Just beyond first base, the coaches talk to the boys about what went right and what went wrong.

To the left, a dad runs the bases with his tow-headed toddler. The boy from Barcelona had heard the little boy asking over and over during the game: "When will it be my turn?"

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