We are in line at Safeco Field by 7 a.m.,
In hopes of getting an Ichiro bobblehead,
the first to honor the Seattle Mariners’
Japanese outfielder, given out free
to the first twenty thousand ticket holders
to come through the turnstiles, beginning at ten.

The line started forming the day before.
Now it loops back and forth, up and down
a cordoned-off street. We join the line of people
who had pitched tents the night before
and waited all night long, people sitting
in folding chairs, people eating and talking,
reading and listening to music to pass the time.

After three hours, word passes that the front of the line
has begun to move. Waiting for the movement to reach us,
we begin to worry that they will run out of
the coveted bobbleheads before we get there.

At first, the line moves slowly, but as time goes on,
it moves faster and faster, and our hearts beat
faster and faster, too, until after half an hour
we finally reach the stadium entrance
where there are still a few boxes of small Ichiros
with bobbling heads that look just like their namesake.

Grabbing our Ichiros, we move up to the concourse level
where we can see down to the foyer and watch.
Within five minutes, the 20,000 bobbleheads are all gone,
and only empty cardboard boxes remain, along with
the disappointed fans behind us who didn’t get one.

Smiling, we hug our Ichiros close and head for our seats.