Ballpark by James Benger

I drove everyone to the little league game
in my over-the-hill station wagon.
The wagon originally belonged
to her husband,
and I felt she took a certain comfort
riding shotgun
as she did all those years earlier.

Beforehand, we’d had a small meal,
she hardly ate;
couple spoonfuls of corn.

Sitting on the bottom bench
of the aluminum bleachers
in the evening July sun,
watching my sister at bat
(possibly her last at bat ever),
Grandma bent over,
wretched up mucusy corn
into the dirt and cigarette butts.
It didn’t take long,
and when she was done,
she gently put a hand on my shoulder,
said:
“Son, can you take me back to your house?”

I loaded her back into the wagon,
this time, her five-foot-nothing,
ninety-pound frame
sprawled across the back bench seat.

Got her upstairs to the
living room of the spit-level,
laid her on the couch,
got her a glass of water,
made her promise she’d be okay
while I went back to the park,
picked up the rest and brought them home.

A half a year later,
she sunk into the beyond,
several states away,
as I desperately tried to finish high-school,
and recovered from a back injury
sustained on I-70,
the same wreck
that ended my sister’s baseball career.

Going on two decades later,
I still can’t imagine a world without her,
and I still get nauseous when I think of
her helpless eyes
asking me to take her home.

James Benger

James Benger is a father, husband and writer. He is the author of two fiction ebooks, “Flight 776” and “Jack of Diamonds” and two chapbooks of poetry, “As I Watch You Fade” and “You’ve Heard It All Before. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.

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