Right Field by John Grochalski

they stuck me out in right field
when they put me in at all
where maybe i’d only have to
deal with one or two fly balls a game
strike out only once at the plate
i played right field deep, almost to the parking lot
even though the coaches kept waving at me
to move it on in and get in my stance
it was a good place to think, to daydream
i was far enough away from the other players
their inane chants and taunts
as the other team came to bat
i refused to play catch with the centerfielder
and sometimes wished that i was back on the bench
single-handedly killing that green tub of gatorade
and reading the latest mad or cracked magazine
but i could always see my old man from the bench
sitting there with the other parents
whose kids could shag fly balls, take a knee for grounders
whose kids didn’t strike out every time at the plate
because i was afraid of a wayward fastball
coming out of the arm of an untrustworthy twelve year old kid
parents who didn’t have to listen
to the taunts of their son’s own teammates
who hated him for being so god awfully bad at the sport
out in right field everyone was just a dot
intangibles who expected nothing of me in the moment
unless some spunky lefty came to bat
my favorite part of it all was when the game was over
and i’d come jogging in from right field, exuberant and joyous
like i’d just gone four for four that day
and had hit the game winning homer
when we slapped five with the other team
i knew my torment was as good as done
and that soon i’d be back in the car with the old man
his fifties and sixties station playing temps and smokey songs
while he talked about maybe how all i needed was a pair of glasses
to become the next roberto clemente
happy until i had to take a piss from all the gatorade
or realizing too close to home
that i’d left that new mad or cracked magazine
just sitting there on that hard and dusty metal bench.

John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and the forthcoming novel, The Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

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