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.