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We climbed concrete ramps from the subway’s underground world, up to the grandstand and my first vision of heaven...
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.