“Infield Chatter,” by Michael Harty

I love how the passage of time is depicted in this piece.  I thoroughly enjoy the flood of metaphor in the first stanza, and the second stanza is so easy to identify with.  It’s like: this is life.  It’s not always pretty, but it makes for some damned good poetry.

*

You don’t hear the old chatter these days,
the third baseman’s chipping staccato
to your right, the random hoot from first,
behind you a warbled stream, a doubleplay
duet like meadowlarks celebrating summer:
that chorus of monologues, chanted mantras
of got-your-back, comebabe humbabe
shoot that pill, rock and fire, you’re the one,
but you’re not the one any more
and the game has changed.

It’s a poor imitation, just the very young
in their home and away jerseys
and all they know is batter the batter
with empty crescendo, like practice
for the talk shows. In the end your best stuff
is thrown into shadowed silence,
the seats half empty, the sun
sunk below the grandstand roof,
the birds gone mute,
even the children grown old.

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