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Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Perfect Ball



The Perfect Ball

I remember when a new baseball was my world.

As I took it from its box,
I admired its unmarred ivory beauty
Feeling its perfect roundness
In my young cupped hands.

I carefully turned the white globe
Until my fingers and thumb found their place
Along the red, raised seams,
Stitched into the smooth cover of cowhide.

Then, as I lifted it to my face,
I inhaled its sweet leathery scent
Still unmasked by grass and dirt,
Unscathed of dimpled batted bruises.

Finally, I listened for the beautiful voice.
In quiet times I coaxed it to speak,
Rich engagements filled with images
Exploits of a perfect ball.

The ball spoke of

Tufted grassy outfields,
Dusty white-chalked diamonds,
Rough-cut wooden benches,
Concrete block dugouts.

The ball spoke of

Sizzling wisps of fastballs
Sweet summer swings
Catcher mitt cannonade
Reverberations of “stee—rike!”

The ball spoke of

Red hot liners
Turf-seeking missiles
Spears of tanned hands
Flagged, stinging captives

The ball spoke of

Eager extended muscles
Perfect sweet spot slugs
Long carry drives
White stars seeking empty space

The ball spoke of

Breathless flights to empty bases
Strawberry stings of hook slides
Tagging waves of foreign hands
Cushions of safety for outstretched limbs. 


In its state of simple perfection, my Baseball had no equal. No time marked its progressions through catches, throws, and hits. I could never possess all the knowledge that lay deep within its cover, and the years that I spent learning its secrets flew too quickly through my hands.

Today, I long to step onto a field and put the baseball back into action- to let it dance with its carefree grace and to return my aging body to its once youthful presence. But, I am content to find my dream world still pulled from a little cardboard box. I think human souls eternal may play baseball in their heaven since baseball was a true slice of heaven to many, like me, while on earth. 


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