(on Bryce Harper sending the Phillies to the Fall Classic – 2022)
When my eldest was a youngster, he’d
snuggle beside me, into my big
brown chair, both of us pushed too near to
gleaming reds and blues, gray and maroon
pinstripes, the sometimes cream of sunny
afternoon games, he with scorecard in
hand, careful pencil between fingers,
noting balls, strikes, hits, runs, position
changes, the sometimes-lonely error.
This was all season, even in the dog days of summer.
Last night, my bright firstborn, studying for
standardized tests, was too busy to
sit by my side when our bearded show-
man slugger launched us into the World
Series via left field moonshot, a
2-run rocket in the rain, but he
heard the screams downstairs, came running, and
I saw the afterglow of those past,
tender days still shining in his eyes.
This is what we can control: a seed, some water, hope.
This morning, this same son shambled down
the stairs to join his drowsy younger
brothers, around our dining table
for morning prayers, and he did his part:
standing, singing, measuring the words
I hope are sinking into his heart,
a lamp haunting darkness, pushing back
sorrow, a someday balm of healing,
anchor against gathering despair.