My father taught me
the infield fly rule
the spring I turned eight,
making me recite it
always ending
with the runners advancing
at their own risk.

We watched a lot of games
together, that summer,
he in his madras shirtsleeves,
me in a gingham sunsuit,
but I never once
got a chance to make the call:
there was no advancing,
no risk for any runners.

By the next June he was dead,
victim of too many summer suns
burning their mark
on his shoulders,
branding the back
that would have carried me
high up into the bleachers
on a Sunday afternoon.

And even now
I am still waiting,
watching for the odd moment
when I can make the call
and advance, like runners following
a pop fly,
unafraid of the risk,
not looking at what was left behind.