Daniel at the Bat
by S.A. Bowden
Inspired by “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
To my little brother Daniel, and to Emily
The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the RPBL Barons
But it wasn’t gloomy either. Nobody was really carin’
Who would win among the primary schoolers clad in green and gray;
On this overcast and windy morn, I came to watch them play.
I hadn’t seen a single game that Daniel played this season
Bogged down with school and college work, I had my flimsy reasons;
But I was his big sister, and support him I would do;
On a field wet and muddy with a puddle at base two.
The bases loaded early on, I clapped for every hit;
But my attention span could only hold out for a bit;
And the thoughts swarming through my head of college, writing, school
Pulled me away from the game and into my mental pool.
Then from four or five throats there rose a “Woo, Daniel!” cheer
For #10’s turn had come, the reason I was here;
Two dozen eyes or so were on him in his bright white pants;
And I smiled to myself to see him take a leftie’s stance.
The pitcher threw the ball, and Daniel hit it his first try;
The kidlets started running, taking bases on the fly;
One home run, and then two, we cheered, but nobody kept count;
It wasn’t about winning we knew, having fun’s what it’s about.
The last pitcher came and hit, the players made it home;
I thought, Perhaps I’ll make this the topic of today’s poem;
Then Declan’s grandma called me out for not paying attention
And Mom explained I’m thinking about a future institution.
She gave me some advice, nothing I hadn’t heard before;
And I found my thoughts and fears drifting to college even more;
I was trying to escape it and enjoy a day at the park;
But I couldn’t escape the difficult choice before the May 1 mark.
Top of the next inning, balls were flying from coaches or the tee;
I squirmed in my seat from discomfort and anxiety;
For Daniel’s sake I tried to watch but just couldn’t do that;
And so I almost missed seeing Daniel return to bat.
Different hair but same brown eyes, left handed just like me;
He held his bat correctly, no need for any tee;
Once more the dun sphere flew, they say, but far right from the bat;
It didn’t hit its target, it struck Daniel in the back.
A few cries rose, Dad came running, my brother squatted there;
Covered his face. I saw him crying from my fold-up chair;
But still he stood, and still he hit, and still he ran the bases;
But afterward he ran to us spectators in our places.
Mom gave him hugs and kisses as Daniel let himself cry;
The grown-ups rallied round him with hugs and kind words, and I—
I wasn’t sure just what to do but couldn’t leave him there;
So I got up, gave him a hug, and kissed his sweaty hair.
As Daniel ran back to his team, Declan’s mom smiled at me;
“The magical sister kiss,” she said, as if it was all me;
“I don’t think he sees my kisses as magical,” I said;
“I bet he does,” she answered, but I had doubts in my head.
I didn’t meet her eyes, my eyes were seeing other things;
Nostalgia and bad memories that flippant comment brings;
My private truths re-hitting home like baseball, loud and clear;
Now Daniel’s on the field, my eyes again are filled with tears.
God assigned me Big Sister, and I had a job to do;
Protect my little siblings and stay by them through and through;
But I did not protect them, for a cruel world prevailed;
And left me with the feeling that as a sister I have failed.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
But there is no joy in me— I, never mighty, have struck out.
by Sam Yoseph
You remind me of chocolate.
Soft brown hair
In wild, crazy curls.
Is pure instinctual.
Big ivory eyes
Filled with curious affection.
Is to show the beauty of dance.
Smooth caramel skin
With hands that touch art.
To capture all eyes.
Jingling tiny laughs
That make me smile when I hear.
To spread happiness.
Comforting unique smell
Of home and safety.
To attract those that are kind.
You remind me of chocolate.
Bitter but pleasant,
And sometimes an acquired taste.
But always, you can count on to be sweet.