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The Catch.

 Night game at Candlestick toward the end of its days.
June Rockwell, season ticketholder of the so-so Giants,
has lured me out to see the wretched Cubs. First date.
When I pick her up, she asks if I've brought my glove
and I tell her I'm from the Bronx where we do everything
with our bare hands.
Thin crowd, uneventful innings, until two out in the seventh,
when Chicago's lumbering, chaw-spitting right fielder
nicks a rising heater that sails backward several sections
from our box seats into a circular gale like the twister
from Wizard of Oz
, the ball at its apex still no real concern
twenty rows away.
And yet, in its final moments, the object of common regard
begins to beam intently, inevitably, for my patron's unanned lap.
I? Bud-Light in one hand, fully adorned bratwurst in the other,
no kidding, I refuse to panic, so the hot dog becomes at last
the missing glove, explodes like a grenade as the seamed orb
makes exceptional contact.
When, after a decent interval, I look up, June, standing now,
a Jackson Pollock of ballpark cuisine--tinsels of pork rind and
sauerkraut in her startled hair, glitter of mustard and relish from
brow to chin--says not a word, does not go to wash up, just lowers
her lightly quaking body. The wind dies down. The home team fails.
We do not speak on the drive back.
Ah, what might have been. But not for me. I'm romantic in that
other way. This way. For this night, no if-only will ever rival what
happened. Watch as we reach June's flat, she turns, caked still
with the spectacle I have made of gallantry and kisses me.
Softly, briefly, decisively. Watch the fog rise to claim her
for the perfect past.
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Author:Haas, Ken
Publication:Atlanta Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Sep 22, 2020
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