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Ninth Inning Analysis

Author: poem of David Lehman Type: poem Views: 3

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He woke up in New York City on Valentine's Day,

Speeding. The body in the booth next to his was still warm,

Was gone. He had bought her a sweater, a box of chocolate

Said her life wasn't working he looked stricken she said

You're all bent out of shape, accusingly, and when he

She went from being an Ivy League professor of French

To an illustrator for a slick midtown magazine

They agreed it was his fault. But for now they needed

To sharpen to a point like a pencil the way

The Empire State Building does. What I really want to say

To you, my love, is a whisper on the rooftop lost in the wind

And you turn to me with your rally cap on backwards rooting

For a big inning, the bases loaded, our best slugger up

And no one out, but it doesn't work that way. Like the time

Kirk Gibson hit the homer off Dennis Eckersley to win the game:

It doesn't happen like that in fiction. In fiction, we are

On a train, listening to a storyteller about to reach the climax

Of his tale as the train pulls into Minsk, his stop. That's

My stop, he says, stepping off the train, confounding us who

Can't get off it. "You can't leave without telling us the end,"

We say, but he is already on the platform, grinning.

"End?" he says. "It was only the beginning."


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