Sunday, June 13, 2010

Poem of the Week: "Asked for a Happy Memory of Her Father, She Recalls Wrigley Field

Summer is baseball season. I'm not much of a baseball fan (it's boring to watch on TV, the season is overcrowded, and I think the players are ridiculously overpaid), but it always makes me nostalgic. I went to my share of baseball games as a kid, and I still love the history and folklore of this American pasttime. That's why I like this poem by Beth Ann Fennelly. It captures the nostalgia that goes hand in hand with baseball games. It's not so much about the game itself; it's about your own private memories in the stands. Plus, this poem seems appropriate for next weekend's Father's Day, full of all the complicated emotions between a parent and child in one's memory. Enjoy!

Asked for a Happy Memory of Her Father, She Recalls Wrigley Field, by Beth Ann Fennelly

His drinking was different in sunshine,
as if it couldn't be bad. Sudden, manic,
he swung into a laugh, bought me
two ice creams, said One for each hand.

Half the hot inning I licked Good Humor
running down wrists. My bird-mother
earlier, packing my pockets with sun block,
has hopped her warning: Be careful.

So, pinned between his knees, I held
his Old Style in both hands
while he streaked the lotion on my cheeks
and slurred My little Indian princess.

Home run: the hairy necks of men in front
jumped up, thighs torn from gummy green bleachers
to join the violent scramble. Father
held me close and said Be careful,

be careful. But why should I be full of care
with his thick arm circling my shoulders,
with a high smiling sun, like a home run,
in the upper right-hand corner of the sky?

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