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Turning the Double Play


ISSUE:  Autumn 1981
for Doug Fowler

In the noon-swelter, dust
hanging over the infield like red fog, we stand at the
  edge
of the grass and watch the ball draw white arcs
toward home, the umpire easing back on his heels,
a coach behind the backstop
 second-guessing.

In the oak shade behind third base, our wives
sit in lawn chairs and guard our cooler of Gatorade.
They wonder why we never win,
and why we seem content to stand out here at the edge
of middle age and watch the hits line into the outfield.
They say, the teams you play are so young.

Yes, they are. And some runner’s always on first,
the heat rising in waves off the cracked dirt, the bat
a blur and a white shot toward short. And yet
when the double play is finally turned, the way we both
turned it years ago on different teams in different
  leagues,
something is won back for a moment,
no matter what the score.

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