Darren Daulton crouched behind
the plate, ligaments in his knees
crackling like campfires
in a primordial forest.
he'd been pulled from the shadowed alleys
of Philadelphia and pushed
squinting into the Miami sun,
like a broken nose on a mannequin,
like glass on the beach.
warming up he caught without a mask, spitting black
through splintered teeth. at bat
he ground down like an old man
fighting with a rusted lugnut
on a tractor wheel, muscling
into the right field stands.
whyn't you do that in the game, asked the gawky kid, the
million dollar kid, the kid
just back from the
that ain't my job, he said, looking
like a tree stump in a coastal forest.
looking like a man-shaped patch
like molded loam and ligneous
clusters and the moving shadows
of living things.
like a man who the woods
had eaten. a frog
in the throat
of the woods.
what is your job asked
the kid, looking back to the other kids,
who knew enough
to look away,
to fiddle with the laces on their mitts.
my job, said he, and the sky went black, my job, he said, and the blackness
bulged, like bulbous eyes...
my job is
now or never.
and the kids, their eyes
like coins, for the first time then
the thousand dawns
in your eyes.
of your hair.
like a thousand
staggering dawns staggering
up off the beach at midnight.
do this now
said Dutch Daulton. do this now
or die. you will die. you will
do this, do this now, and/or
you will die.
and those boys, these
pretty pretty boys grew teeth and took
the field with hearts and eyes
already punctured in their minds.
Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
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