(In between innings, Danville, Illinois – July 2014)
Thomas Wolfe was wrong, of course. Everyone can go home again,
Each of us with our own means of doing so – secret, breeze-blown.
I waited thirty-five years before my first journey backward, to the place
Where I was born, place of my first slow dance, first kiss, first true love.
As a boy, I’d spend the entire day throwing a ball against a brick garage
Announcing each inning, three up and three down, or a long fly ball…
My dad’s store isn’t there anymore, nor the two wondrous stone lions
That once loyally guarded the public library doors and oak plank floors.
But the Danville Dans still play in the old wooden stadium, still draw
A crowd, with kids chasing each foul into the stands as if it were gold.
Eyes closed, the crack of a wooden bat against a ball that curves mid-air
Reminds me that everyone can, by the sound of history, go home again.