At first he seemed a child,
dirt on his lip and the sun
lighting up his hair behind him.
All around us, the hesitation
of year-rounders who know
the warmer air will bring crowds.
No one goes to their therapist
to talk about how happy they are,
but soon I’d be back in the dugout
telling my batting coach how
the view outside my igloo seemed
to be changing, as if the night
sky were all the light there is.
Now, like two babies reaching
through the watery air to touch soft
fingers to soft forehead, like blind fish
sensing a familiar fluttering in the waves,
slowly, by instinct, we became aware.
Off-field, outside the park, beyond
the gates, something was burning.
The smell was everywhere.