Vol. 1, No. 2: Line Drives & Bloop Hits photo

Full CustodyMichael Juliani

Instead of hand and glove 
and jockstrap and thigh, the animal 
meld of body to uniform, 
in Garfield Park, there is a mother, 
wearing frayed jeans and Converse, 
trying to teach her pre-teen son 
how to throw a baseball, to plant his back foot 
and crane his hand like a cobra’s head, 
using the momentum of his hips
to push the ball toward its target 
like a bullet meeting the crosshairs 
of a scope. 
                  She is the stand-in for a man 
off forming barbed constellations 
on a daydreamed map of the California coast, 
his body now accustomed to only 
furtive forms of tenderness, and after 
all the other families have headed home, 
she takes the boy and their single mitt
to an unpolluted part of town, recalling 
what little she has learned from watching, 
that the spin will follow the seams of the ball, 
and this could help him make new friends, 
a pastime that keeps kids busy at night 
and will remind him of something
that lives in his belly, his father 
dragging himself from the third base bleachers, 
slipping his fingers through the dugout fence, 
angry that his son won’t say hello.