The light-rail’s last stop is right at the gate,
my section, my row, my seat, was across the infield,
so I rounded the bases backwards along the concourse
alone among thousands sharing the same eager excitement,
halfway round, I stepped up to the concrete wall looking out over
the apex of center field, and gazed at long gone times again.
Inhaling the gloriously fresh air,
ecstatic with old fascination and joy,
I spread my arms wide, grinning like an idiot,
leaned over the wall and cried irrepressibly,
“Outdoor baseball is BACK!”

Oh, the wonder of that afternoon!
All the delicious download of memories of the old Met
long thought lost and irretrievable.
Pop-ups into the outfield rising, hovering against the wind like knuckleballs,
High, hard fly balls weaving in their trajectories,
hot grounders raising dust that actually blew away, players squinting,
playing the sky not the ceiling.

And beyond the right field wall the city, downtown, my hometown,
that had reclaimed the best for the sport, recognizing the roots laid down
in Bloomington fifty years ago, with care and pride and more that a tip of the cap.
No fake sky, no fake air, no fake grass, no fake light,
no gray surroundings, no settling-for within a cavernous bubble.
I could imagine again being a player, too.

On leaving, flowing with the herd, I counted only three things missing:
cigar smoke, the parking lot, and my dad.