New Poem: Louisville Slugger

This is a new poem I have been spending some time with lately, making edits, changing endings, fine-tuning the sound, the rhythm, and meter. I think I’ve got my first “mature” poem: A poem that leaves nothing out and includes only what it needs, has authority, passion, and a freshness of imagery to an old pastime. I hope you all enjoy.

    Louisville Slugger

    When you lifted that birch-cut, sawdust-finished
    Baseball bat, it was the Big Leagues you coveted
    And pretended—each time the weight of it

    Surprised you most, naming itself gravity
    In the way it made you take seriously
    That lightness of unburden taken for granted,

    A strange heavy you carry with you
    At all times. Who can say what density means,
    Or what is being written in the grains

    That sprawl, arch, narrow, and agree
    In the bat’s barrel? Some days you’d take swing
    After swing, knuckles stacked along its neck,

    Testing the grip you could get on things
    When what’s hoped-for seemed to hold itself
    In your hands. You practiced choking it up a bit

    For those slapped-at and reached-for
    Sac-flies, learned to trust the forgiving
    Sweet-spot that could bring a runner home.

    Or in the 9th, when the ball harps off to reach
    For the fences, the man on third ready
    For the touch-and-go and go-for-broke,

    As the ball sails in from the outfield, arrives
    At the plate—the catch, the slide—and dust settles,
    The word safe held open in the umpire’s arms.

      I welcome your thoughts

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