I don't mind lying in Brookline
in the dark tonight, just
spacing, remembering,
straining my mind's sight.

I don't mind lying sleepless
in this shrouded dark,
thinking of bygone days
along Van Cortlandt Park,

thinking back to whole Bronx
years just sitting on the rail,
in front of the playground
– our home, hangout, jail,

back to P.S. 95's schoolyard
for my last stickball game,
playing with Hippo Newman
through the late afternoon rain,

with the scored tied in the ninth,
I homered over the roof
–let's just call it my own
Bobby Thompson moment of truth!

For years I tried to roof it but
it came down to that last at bat,
then off I went to college,
leaving stick, spauldeen, and hat.

Much has happened in the
half-century that's passed.
The war ended, I met Sandy,
Our two boys grew way too fast.

My concrete field of dreams? Now
long left behind. The knees shot,
bad back, torn tendon, rotator
cuff throbbing–and what not.

My glory has become a shadowy fact
doubted by my two sons,
who can't see their Dad playing,
game-faced, blazing both guns.

And when I tell the old Bronx
tale of hitting it over the roof,
they crack up laughing, saying,
"Oh, sure," demanding proof.

But to one aging schoolyard boy,
this memory's turned to gold,
a setting sun, an autumn day,
something gem-like to behold.

And when life gets rough, leaving
me bewildered, without a clue,
I travel back to that last inning,
and just try to swing through.

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
Contact Bill Schechter