Anne Sexton on Baseball

I thought she’d crack a joke
about home runs or the enormity
of a ballpark frank. I thought maybe
she’d turn her cap backwards
and call me babe. Or at least
get smashed and cheer for
the wrong team. I count on her
bad behavior so often, her silence
somewhat threw me.

I took her hand, as I often
do, at great risk of rejection
or irritation. This time she held
on. This time she smiled at me
like she was actually there.
What’s wrong? I found myself
softening to her posture, slumped
in the seat beside me. You know,
I know everything about you,
nothing you say will shock me.

Yes, well, that’s a problem,
isn’t it? she belched. Aren’t we
like them, running the bases
like we’ll win? Win some grand prize
at life. A trophy. A moment
of greatness. And all of these
people use them. To get someplace
greater too. Someplace better
than their living room couches. Some
place closer to Baseball Christ.

No matter how many times
you run these bases, I will not love
you. You realize that? The trophy
was always tarnished. You were
never up to bat. Not with me.

Now, find us some peanuts, huh?
And maybe the coach. That’s where
this game is going.

By Jen Rouse