Striking Father Out, One Summer Day


He grabbed the handle
grinned proudly, stepped to the plate

seemed like yesterday when he
taught me how to swing

now he’s in the box
balance giving in to Parkinson’s

I pitched the ball with some heat
strike one, he said, pitch it again

You alright? Sure I’m fine, pitch the ball
I throw one slowly, strike two

I search for an excuse not to throw next pitch:
barbecue’s ready, food’s on the table

I looked down at the mound, same browned hump
where he taught me how to settle in and focus

Pitch the ball, he said, don’t be afraid
I did and strike three came

Dad walked to patio,
Mom asked how was the game

Dad grinned and said,
your son can’t pitch worth a damn!


copyright 2008, Frank Messina

from Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry

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