It reduces you to the loneliest
loneliness. No one else can stand with you,
or deny the ball at your feet, the play

A man stands on first instead
of trotting head down back to his dugout.
And there’s no Gordian Knot
to untangle,

just you standing there in the eyes
of your teammates, feeling
for the seams of a missed chance
too late in hand.

“It’s okay,” a teammate says, but no
one believes that. Not even the confluence
of three rivers can alter the course
your fumble set in motion.

Even your soul is sad. But the genius
of the game is that there’s another chance:
the wind-up, the pitch, the crack of a bat
and look … it’s yours to play.