“Clothespins,” by Stuart Dybek

I like how this piece captures the imagination surrounding baseball in children.  And I love the detail — I can just visualize a boy with a bat, tossing up clothespins to swing at, the occasional clothespin bursting apart in midair.  This piece was originally published in Brass Knuckles in 1979.

*

I once hit clothespins
for the Chicago Cubs.
I’d go out after supper
when the wash was in
and collect clothespins
from under four stories
of clothesline.
A swing-and-a-miss
was a strike-out;
the garage roof, Willie Mays,
pounding his mitt
under a pop fly.
Bushes, a double,
off the fence, triple,
and over, home run.
The bleachers roared.
I was all they ever needed for the flag.
New records every game—
once, 10 homers in a row!
But sometimes I’d tag them
so hard they’d explode,
legs flying apart in midair,
pieces spinning crazily
in all directions.
Foul Ball! What else
could I call it?
The bat was real.

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2 Comments on ““Clothespins,” by Stuart Dybek”

  1. Chills. Seriously – you find the best stuff. Thank you for this one…!

    • It’s always so cool to find something like this, especially when I can go, “Hey, I totally relate to this!” I never hit clothespins, but I swung at a lot of other things.


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