Ronnie, outside the Record Shoppe,
sells bobble-heads and other tcotchkes
to passers-by who give a look
and then move up and down the avenue.
He also sells baseball cards, rarely, in a
neighborhood predominantly
Russian and Asian.
His real passion is minor league ball,
watching players, deciding in his mind
who will go up to the Big Show,
and who will never be heard of again.
He gets the autograph of rising stars.
(Hey, someone’s got Mantle’s
before he came up to the Yankees.)
Retired, Ronnie sits outside by his table
and listens to the afternoon ball game,
his memory playing tapes of when he was a kid
and a third baseman waiting for the grounder
to make a spectacular play to show the scouts.
He, too, was a future major league player.
He hopes someone would still ask for his autograph.