by Laura Rosenthal
Cheers break—and break—
and break—over our heads. I drift
beyond the bleachers—ebbing out
with the tide—beer-drunkers—
Back in the stands, my buds
track stats with pencil stubs—
heads lowered over paper programs
as balls fly out like skeets
to the collective gaze-and-gasp.
I hold boredom tight: Barring rain
(o come, rain, come) every game has nine innings.
I roam the food stalls.
The way others jump to their feet
for an out-of-the-park home run—a no-hitter—
a last-minute steal—I’m brought to tears by
sushi fish—glistening slices—ahi—maguro—
reposed over soft mounds of rice—outshining
chili dogs oozing with fake cheese— strewn
with shreds of onion—and Dungeness crab
piled onto hot buttered sourdough—the tang
discernible through beer vapors and garlic fries.
Why sit still for a mile of string
wound into a three—no—
not-even-three-inch ball that leaps—
now and again—into the night sky
to expected oohs and ahs.
O Pac Bell Park—in time transmuted
to SBC—AT&T—and now—
can you believe it?—Oracle—I’ll wait in line
for your ebi—unagi—I’ll wait for your Chicago Red Hots
whose every meticulously arranged ingredient—
each dill pickle—tomato slice—puckery pepper—
dollop of mustard—means seconds more in line—
adding up to another inning evaded.
They worry I’ve gone missing.
Why would I be anywhere else?
LAURA ROSENTHAL grew up in New York and now lives and writes in Sacramento, California. Before returning to her first love, writing, she worked for many years as a lawyer, with a focus on access to health care and health insurance. Most recently, she has been published in Poetry Now, Tule Review, Sacramento Voices, Written Here: The Community of Writers Poetry Review 2017, the Poet Tree Anthology, and anthology Quiet Rooms, and Buddhist Poetry Review. She is a member of the Community of Writers, has attended the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and has been a senior editor of Tule Review.