Missoula Softball Tournament

Missoula Softball Tournament

After Richard Hugo


This summer, no friends in the stands

but the drowning buzz of a man’s opinion.

We have gone back to the old ways of defeat.

The field evolved into pleated skirts and cat calls,

rolling lipstick slammed against the runner’s hip,

grinding into the unfamiliar dust.

A bunt, veered towards third, bases clear.

Shrills from the dugout: faster, Nancy, faster. The modern husbands,

basic, used, murmuring disdain while

a flick of cigarette lands near the unattended infants in the dirt.


I try to steal the tricky manager’s signs.

Is hit and run the pulling of the braid?

The umps’ eyes leer to low and away from the pitcher’s ball.

Shocking? A substitution of players does not constitute a mindset change. Stereotype

gender forever sealed. Immortal.

Now players locked in on the momentary stardom

while the husbands, the modern husbands, high on beer and ego, laugh within the confine

between the field and parking lot.

This poem goes out to them.

The modern husbands and beautiful wives once, years ago, began marriage.

Now marriage is a balance beam that feels off.

The modern husbands feel less important while coming home from their degrading jobs

to a pair of muddy cleats and ripped stockings.

Like routine, players shake hands and exit the field

returning to their babes caked in dust

and to the husbands, their modern husbands,

who kiss their mouth and grab their ass.