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Saturday, October 31, 2020


by Mark Williams

The President plays catch with former New York Yankees Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera as he greets youth baseball players on the South Lawn of the White House to mark Opening Day for Major League Baseball, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images via Chicago Tribune)

The lines are straight, votes streaming in
like a fastball from the hand of Larry Broerman.
That’s me at the plate. I am ten years old,
squaring around to bunt in fear. Notice
how the ball is coming in too fast for me to move.
Watch me catch it with my groin. See 
the coaches and my parents run onto the field
and huddle round my crumpled, writhing form. 
Watch my father unbutton my pants and say, “Breathe.”
I don’t care about my team. My only interest
is my stats. I bat in the low .200’s, but if you ask,
I’ll tell you about the double I once hit. Never mind 
I make consistent errors in right field.
Occasionally, I catch one. But for now,
behold me as I stand. Gaze upon me 
as I trot toward first base, even as my still-
unbuttoned pants fall from my waist, slide down my legs, 
and drop onto the first base path. Consider 
how the fans go wild. Listen to them cheer
as my short-lived, unaccomplished baseball career
comes to its ignominious end.

Mark Williams's poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Rattle, and The American Journal of Poetry. His poems in response to the current administration have appeared in The New Verse News, Writers Resist, Poets Reading the News, and Tuck Magazine. His baseball career ended in Evansville, Indiana, where he still lives.