In bed, night game, ‘FIL, soporific Saam and Kelly
Narrating The Expected re the hapless Phils, the spin
Detailing individual statistics, not just another 2nd division
Finish hanging in the race, hoping at least for a goodnight
Cliché, a popup, 3rd base stands, Puddin’head Jones turf
For ten solid years, then Kelly’s s.o.p. signature line,
Willie’s drifting over toward the boxes, waiting, got it!
He’s death under popups. That said, my Crosley and I
Snapped off, the Phils, another probable loss, I, literalist
Of a brooding imagination, slunk off to sleep conjuring a
Metaphysics of death and popups to the raucous downstairs
12-inch 78 rpm Phil Harris, That’s What I Like about the South.

Later, early puberty, road trip down Deep Dixie with
A naïf’s knowledge of the South, girls, gravity, that all
Hanging things must fall, I witnessed a strange, overripe fruit,
Bruised purple and blue, nearly blackened, dangling solo,
Thick and trenchantly hirsute and hot from a live oak, alone
Entirely except for sweltering summer cotton and indigo and
Tobacco fields, knowing there was no steady, reliable Willie
At the hot corner to close under that tree, to have it rest safely
In his mitt when it fell for a final out, having no glib tongue yet
To express a vision of what was past, passing and might yet come
On adult roads farther south, city kid, knowing neither cries
Of the crowd nor strange fruit, which, like my girly left testis,

Might never descend.