“A Poem About Baseballs” — Denis Johnson

“A Poem About Baseballs” by Denis Johnson–

for years the scenes bustled
through him as he dreamed he was
alive. then he felt real, and slammed
awake in the wet sheets screaming
too fast, everything moves

too fast, and the edges of things

are gone. four blocks away
a baseball was a dot against
the sky, and he thought, my
glove is too big, i will
drop the ball and it will be
a home run. the snow falls

too fast from the clouds,
and night is dropped and
snatched back like a huge

joke. is that the ball, or is
it just a bird, and the ball is
somewhere else, and i will
miss it? and the edges are gone, my

hands melt into the walls, my
hands do not end where the wall

begins. should i move
forward, or back, or will the ball
come right to me? i know i will
miss, because i always miss when it
takes so long. the wall has no

surface, no edge, the wall
fades into the air and the air is
my hand, and i am the wall. my
arm is the syringe and thus i
become the nurse, i am you,

nurse. if he gets
around the bases before the
ball comes down, is it a home
run, even if i catch it? if we could

slow down, and stop, we
would be one fused mass careening
at too great a speed through

the emptiness. if i catch
the ball, our side will
be up, and i will have to bat,
and i might strike out.

 

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