The scar on my left ankle, pride
of a sandlot slide into second.
It found a shard of glass and faster
than the throw trying to catch me
stealing at the end of a tag,
my left Keds began turning red.
Everyone saw and felt that blood,
sure as the crushed cereal box-base
with the brick to hold it in place
moved. Everyone saw and stopped,
hypnotized by the blood and moment.
But no one called time, and being
eight years old, I bounced up and raced
for third, trailing blood into the slide.
We were one run down, late in the game.
Blood showed us how much winning meant.
Sal said, “It’s an automatic
time out, for any injury.”
“I’m not injured,” I said, dancing
on third, refusing to go back.
School was out, arguments could last
long as the days, and twelve stitches
later would make me a summer legend,
because until someone called my mother,
I was the tying run on third.
Billy, our best bunter, was up.
We’d try a suicide squeeze.
The other team knew, but could they
stop it? I think I held my breath, ready,
bleeding, wildly alive and almost nine.