I thought of you today
Walking home from work.
Like I have so many days
I stopped off for a cold one with the boys,
Ordered one to go.
I felt your hand on my shoulder,
But when I turned no one was there.
I took the short cut through the field
Where the school once stood
Only the ball diamond remains unchanged
Where you taught me how to play.
I remembered your arms around me
Showing me how to hold the bat.
Life lessons taught in innings.
How to catch, and pitch and hit,
You taught me how to choke the bat,
How sometimes a bunt is better
Than a grand slam to left field.
I learned how to slide into home plate,
My body showing the bruises for weeks.
In my mind I could see the bleachers
Filled with friends, and proud parents
I smelled the scent of oiled leather,
And heard the crack of the bat
As it made contact with the ball
Winter has changed the landscape.
The bases are covered in a white blanket;
Winter’s icy wind steals my breath.
You wanted so much from me
An easier life than yours.
But, here I am, following in your boot prints.
A bottle in my hand.
Your lessons were not for me
I was going to be someone,
Leave this town far behind.