They suspend time in casinos.
Gamblers don’t know when to quit,
lose it all. That’s the idea.
This year they removed the giant digital clocks
from Fenway Park, only a lighted watch
over right-field bleachers remains,
timepiece’s ten foot chapter ring marked
only by lines, kids today can’t tell time
the old-fashioned way.
Seconds, minutes, hours pass at their own pace,
pitcher looks in, batter steps out, stumbles
in break of space-time continuum:
World War II hasn’t started.
The young men who’ll be off soon
to Pacific or European theater
tend generous infield grass like landscapers
in the toniest suburbs, soak up grounders,
run down those line drives as they thud
off the big wall in left covered with ads,
not yet that bright Green Monster. The players
don’t know the sour taste of blood,
hot dogs cost fifteen cents, Cracker-Jacks five.
During a downpour ghosts go crazy
under the left-field grandstand.
Root them out while organ notes wobble
under the rafters, vibrato lands right
in the teeth and raindrops pond on the tarp.
Front passes, they return to present, tank.
There’s no other way to put it, no way
to explain it, winter winds in September.