Baseball, I warrant, is not the whole
occupation of the aging boy.
A bat next to the bed for safety,
for just in case, because the boy
furthest from the door has watched
Funny Games far too many times
to not fear the nature of man.
We’re not gun guys, hence the bat.
Not sports guys either, unless
we’re talking the stickball scene
in It Takes Two, starring the Olsen twins.
My husband and I still go to a game
once a year or so, for the food
and the fanfare. We don’t care
who wins. At Pride Night one season,
I stuffed a Phillies-branded rainbow flag
between my legs. More fear than fetish.
It was clear the ballpark bros didn’t know
it was Pride Night, or didn’t care.
Side-eyes one beer away from aggressor.
Later though, we found a corner
of the stadium to smile and take a photo
with the flag. I looked happy but out
of place. Sean wore his cap backward
like an It Takes Two stand-in.
Back in school, baseball meant
sexual exploration: first base, third base,
home run. But there is no first base
in the men’s only league. Anything worthwhile
happens in the dugout after a rain delay. A kiss
on one cheek, an imprint of a cleat on the other.
The remake of Funny Games kept the same
director and was filmed nearly shot for shot
to the 1997 original. Shot for shot—
it can mean many things, so many ways
to mark a body. I’ve been lucky so far, blessed
with enough rigidity to pass. Enough foresight
to blend in and become the infield.
When I can’t sleep, I imagine myself as Hughie Jennings
on deck. I replay hit-by-pitch scenarios in my head.
When it’s my go, I step to the plate empty-handed,
having left the only bat I own back in the bedroom.
A voice in the crowd yells a slur. The crowd performs
the wave. Stadium lights soon give in to night.
The hiss of electricity overpowered by a brief
and impatient silence. Then there’s the sound
of wind. A velocity one can never fully prepare for.