The last mass you attended
you were in the coffin
that kept you dry
from the million tears
a hundred mourners shed.
It has been decades
since you dressed in altar boy white
and performed your sacred trust
knowing your papa would treat us
to ice cream soon after the benediction.
I remember how you waited
for spring to warm enough
to dry the cold ground
so a ball striking a swung bat
did not sting so much.
I remember the night
you ate nine bananas on a dare
before you drank your first pint
while the Friday night fish fried.
During the regular season
I miss calling you up
and talking baseball for hours.
Conversation interspersed with the updates
on family and friends.
copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney
Like many of my poems this one is a mix of fact and fiction. Mike and I met in our 30s. We played on the same softball team. We became friends with baseball as one of our focuses—both MLB and the APBA baseball simulation game.
Mike passed away last year. I began thinking about him again as Spring training started up because he and I would have been on the phone talking about the upcoming season and the reports on which rookies looked promising.