SANDLOT BALL Back

Yes. Literally.

Before manicured fields,

before fathers pretending

to be big league coaches,

before batting helmets, knee braces,

and elbow pads – there was a sand lot,

in reality, a vacant lot, a rough patch of dirt

squished between two apartment buildings.

We learned the fundamentals

without benefit of introduction

through trial and error, mostly errors, lots of ‘em.

We named ourselves, “The Generals,”

Crayola-emblazoned on our white tee shirts.

We played until the ball

disappeared in the gathering darkness.

I still remember my number, 14,

proud of the fact that at nine years old,

I belonged to the community of ball players,
the Brotherhood of Baseball welcoming me.