Saturday, November 15, 2003
The New York Yankees Play Two by Michael Baker
In Yankee Stadium where tragedies
happen at least twice a day and
it’s 5PM and workers belt bourbon
and beer after church and the mugginess cracks
over the light over the green fields,
as women stay startled, hands
reaching for tissues, garments shut tight.
In the bleachers we sought distraction
and the gap-toothed hag’s arms
seemed ready for flight. Every game she tells us
about the night she ate a box
of Cracker Jacks and fell into a coma.
Nothing could save her. Like Lindbergh
she left her easy life and floated,
without modern instruments, towards Kansas City
to have coffee with God: I can’t go forward,
I can’t go back. They argued about Fisk
and Bucky Dent, laughed about the Babe,
and arm-wrestled over Rizzuto in the Hall.
Help me, make me stronger, but God
He grandly points to his groin: “Seed,
Divide, and Lay 7 on the Yanks.”
In twenty minutes the scoreboard stat line
starts to zigzag like a whore’s whip—
it’s 8-6 in the 7th, Tribe winning,
and she and her bleacher buddies scream
for Gehrig, Little Leaguers,
a miracle from the bullpen, if not merely cable coverage.
The fans ignored her and gave warnings about pills.
Later, we pray, she will join a circus in Double A,
become a minimum wage clown/masseuse,
a short order cook, and reliable plant
in Midwest barrooms for the visiting teams.
She will marry a blind, bald man, rear Koreans,
bathe in barbed wire, and get emotional
over cotton candy scandals. She will then come home.
She works the third base area near here now,
threatening the Wall Street types with crossed fingers
pointed in her pockets, following
other fathers to the restrooms
on Sundays, mocking their selections
of foot longs and generic domestics.
Weather and play become dull and damp
and our Faith, the fan, spreads with the sinking sun,
leaning towards our younger brothers, puffing
and scratching, day in day out,
dreaming of past World Series, hits of codeine
and Buds, her future fanatic tormentees,
because she knows soon the loud roar
after another comeback
alarms another fleshy heaven
that stains her thighs’ second game.
Michael Baker, an adjunct professor in Northern New Jersey, loves the Indians, both the Cleveland and the gambling varieties.