artwork above by Meghan Clarkston

by Aaron Coder

I was hardly a coordinated child—
baseballs, especially, would slip from me
like greasy fruits. Always among the last
to be picked—who could blame them?
And when my name, breathed low like a sigh,
was finally called, I’d schlep skinny-legged
across the outfield swinging my tight-laced glove,
head lowered in prayer that a sinkhole might open beneath me.

And it was that way until my late teens
when I discovered sure footing in the sand,
confidence to rise above the net with open hand
to drive a volley beyond an opponent’s reach,
chord a guitar or pen a poem, strike the nail squarely in full swing,
catch naïve hearts in the same palm
that once trembled in tanned leather above my head
and has since fumbled many a precious thing.