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We climbed concrete ramps from the subway’s

underground world, up to the grandstand

and my first vision of heaven, Ebbets Field,

Brooklyn Dodgers, the summer of ‘54,

my father buying hotdogs, my grandfathers

chomping Cuban cigars. And Oh! the high arc

of long fly balls, and Oh! the crowd’s roar,

the scoreboard lit with incandescent bulbs,

the hands of the Longines clock marking time,

vendors shouting, “Beeeaah heeeah,” the smells

of smoke and piss and peanuts, the Bums

winning a thriller in the bottom of the ninth,

ushers opening the gates to the field,

my small steps taking me all the way home.

A white-haired usher, older than God

or my grandfathers, bent over and whispered,

“Step on home plate, kid, and pray the Dodgers

stay.” And with all the energy my tiny

soul could summon, I jumped and prayed and landed

on home plate, still young enough to believe

all the men I loved would never leave me.

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