A clerk at the local sports store
absent-mindedly bounces a small, pink “Spaldeen.”
He hardly knows what he has in his hands.
He has my childhood in his hands.
More than a half century ago,
I, too, bounced a ball from one hand to another
on the cement playgrounds of Brooklyn.
I tried to stretch a single into a double,
sliding into second at my own peril,
blood worth the two-bagger.
Afternoons morphed into the end of childhood,
as I prayed for just one more inning.
I should go tell that clerk
to be more careful with
my Spaldeen and memories,
as he is now charged
with the responsibility
of being the Official Scorer
of the countless games only I can remember.