• Atrophy and Labour Day Baseball

    by  • September 3, 2012 • Baseball, Mike Spry, Poetry • 1 Comment

    “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to wear
    the hell out of my white slacks this weekend.”

    He sent the message and turned on the game.
    He opened a beer. She poured a drink.
    He opened a third, he opened a seventh.
    Only then did he notice the sexual tension
    in the catcher/umpire relationship.

    The second inning deteriorated into the third.
    He asked, “How would you kill me?”
    She readily answered, “Oh, with a paring knife,
    in Tulsa, in October, after watching The Last Waltz
    in a motel with no room numbers or ice machine.”

    He loved her commitment to detail, but feared
    her commitment to detail, and late inning ties.
    In the bottom of the fourth, he considered
    extracting atropine from their nightshade
    to top up her gin and gin and gin and soda.

    They had never been to Oklahoma,
    but it was on their list of things to do.
    Maybe catch a Drillers game, pour a beer
    on the first base line for Mike Coolbaugh,
    and finally sign the divorce papers.

    In the top of the 6th, she questioned the motives
    of the third base coach and suggested they stop
    taking relationship notes from Marilyn Monroe.
    “Joe loved her,” she offered, “in the same way
    that you continually disappoint me.”

    By the 7th inning stretch, neither of them could stretch.
    Out of habit, and necessity, they engaged in short violent
    intercourse as “God Bless America” betrayed the stadium.
    He called her Elly and she whispered, “Forget my name again,
    and you’ll spend the rest of your life in this room.”

    It was typically in the bottom of the 8th
    where they’d find the bottom of their relationship.
    He reluctantly put his white slacks back on,
    only because of her incessant complaints
    and the late evening chill of a departing summer.

    The game was tied in the bottom of the 9th.
    It was always tied in the bottom of the 9th.
    He dreamt of a walk-off, and being 20 again.
    She expected a sacrifice, to be held at night,
    to be told she was beautiful, and to believe it.

    Too often their fortunes were left to the will
    of a light hitting Dominican middle infielder,
    of a distant memory of once,
    of a promise that never would eventually arrive,
    and the summer would finally end.


    Mike Spry is a writer, editor, and columnist who has written for The Toronto Star, Maisonneuve, and The Smoking Jacket, among others. He is the author of JACK (Snare Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 Quebec Writers’ Federation A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. The short story collection Distillery Songs (Insomniac Press, 2011) was shortlisted for the 2012 ReLit Award. He lives in Wakefield, Quebec. His most recent work is the poetry collection Bourbon & Eventide from Invisible Publishing.


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