– dedicated to my dad, Bob Beardsley,
for all of the hours and lessons

“Rub some dirt on it,” he said,
and I spit on my hand to rub the
infield dust into the sore cut.
First base can be tough
and we were just getting started
there was pitching to practice, what pitch to throw when
at bats to take – when to swing or hold up –
and more infield, always more infield –

“What do you do if the ball is hit to you, a grounder,
with one out and a runner on first?” he asked.
Easy one – throw to second and get back to the base to receive the throw.
“A pop fly?” he questioned.
Challenge me dad – catch it and step on the bag before the runner gets back.
“What if there are two outs?”
Play’s at first, Pop.

How was I to know these were life lessons,
peppered among the bad hops
that you still have to get in front of, and knock down,
while watching what the runners might do –

Prepare, think ahead, be ready, plow through when it hurts –
Life is practice.