– for John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman

In the background, outside the screen,
the whirr of crickets, and next to my bed,
the smooth sonorities of Mel Allen and Red Barber,
as the Yankees take the field, on a cool evening
in September, and I pound my catcher’s mitt
in the darkened room, where I can see
the spread of outfield grass, the white light of the stadium,
and the pinstriped uniforms, arranged precisely in my mind.

Many seasons later, a young boy
appeals to his father from another dark room,
another window open to the summer night,
can I stay up a little longer, they’re down one
in the 8th and Jeter’s coming up, and then
the melodic voices of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman,
offering the deepest reassurance that something
treasured in our American life has endured.

How monstrous to say no, it’s time to go to sleep,
so yes, go ahead and finish the game, as I once did,
when McCovey lined out to Richardson, but now
it’s Pettitte and Posada and Rivera in your bedroom,
where rolling voices rise again from the radio
a slider low and away, a fly ball to right, not deep,
and finally, like a long abandoned boyhood dream,
it is high, it is far, it is gone.