Son, before it’s even over,

this game of father and son,

years shrink to minutes

and one last throw

Remember me, son,

when I hurried room to room

emptying waste baskets,

slid you from infant seats

into your bed, removed

booties and stockings,

hid you with blankets

from the black ever after


After you slept I made coffee,

closed the flue, watched the sky

drop as low as the ceiling,

laid there knowing

in the distant passage of semis

I had no answers, only promises

to carry you on my back

up and down stairways,

only myths I no longer believed,

only rituals of balls

rolled like sacred boulders

in formation down fields

of diminished light


I could never find exact words

so I pitched whatever I held

underhanded and smiled, “catch,”

trying to hit your hands just right

Then you were gone in a pivot,

fielding grounders one handed,

chasing fly balls deep into centerfield

All those chores I performed

in such mechanical detail

dimmed my eyes;

whatever I had I tossed

in your direction

until my arm went sore,

had to retire

I wake now in the middle of the night

and sit alone on the stoop

listening for messages

in the grinding of the grass


So, I say to the constellations,

this is how it will be,

for me and for him.

This is how we will face

our final moments


Here, I say to the universe,

with all your fiery foul balls,

have another one. Here, then, catch