Sign for My Father, Who Stressed the Bunt

By David Bottoms b. 1949 David Bottoms
On the rough diamond,
the hand-cut field below the dog lot and barn,
we rehearsed the strict technique
of bunting. I watched from the infield,
the mound, the backstop
as your left hand climbed the bat, your legs
and shoulders squared toward the pitcher.
You could drop it like a seed
down either base line. I admired your style,
but not enough to take my eyes off the bank
that served as our center-field fence.
 
Years passed, three leagues of organized ball,
no few lives. I could homer
into the left-field lot of Carmichael Motors,
and still you stressed the same technique,
the crouch and spring, the lead arm absorbing
just enough impact. That whole tiresome pitch
about basics never changing,
and I never learned what you were laying down.
 
Like a hand brushed across the bill of a cap,
let this be the sign
I’m getting a grip on the sacrifice.

David Bottoms, "Sign for My Father, Who Stressed the Bunt" from Armored Hearts: Selected and New Poems. Copyright © 1995 by David Bottoms.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press. www.coppercanyonpress.org

Source: Armored Hearts: Selected and New Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 1995)

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Poet David Bottoms b. 1949

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Subjects Living, Youth, Parenthood, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 David  Bottoms

Biography

David Bottoms was born in Canton, Georgia in 1949. He earned an MA from the University of West Georgia and a PhD from Florida State University. In 1979, Bottoms won the prestigious Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for his collection Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump. Robert Penn Warren, the contest’s judge, described Bottoms as “a strong poet, and much of his strength emerges from the fact that he is . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Youth, Parenthood, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Activities, Sports & Outdoor Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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