Tim Dyson – Three Poems

Giveaway Night at Hunnicutt Field

Balmy August evening in Princeton, West Virginia
the hinterland of rookie league baseball
where the giveaways and generous smoking area
enticed nine hungered paying customers that night
the Devil Rays were struggling
parking lot half empty, outfield lights
turned on only at the last minute
tired of keeping the secret
oh, but what light they shed
on the little boy two rows down
who did the twist on the Visitors’ dugout
or the barbershop quartet’s
a cappella anthem assisted by flag bearers,
amputees of a most recent conflict
saluted without hands
For three hours, young men tried
to go back to being a chubby catcher
playing for Mr Sparks’ Rodman’s BBQ Giants
happy he stopped Randy Boone’s curve ball
in the sweet dirt of youth
way to block it, get squared up
sometimes the runner advanced
and now, I know, right where he was headed
To Palookaville, for the Hamburger
Helper TShirt and for a free loaf
of Holsum Bread and for one chance
to give it his all before
being cut next fall

**

Memorial Day 1960

I used to wear sailor suits
and ‘I like Ike’ underpants
My dad, part Cherokee
my mom, Catholic, Irish
agreed about the great men
who brought us through
desperate circumstance
Their favorite day
was the day of tribute
to those died to save
this marvelous land
no mention of the indigenous
passed from their lips
some things no longer exist
We would stand on the shore
of the Elizabeth River
watching them drop
white flowers for the sea
my parents in tears
after ‘Anchors Aweigh’
After the ceremony
and the Navy Yard picnic
we went home down Powhatan
over the Indian River inlet
where there were rumors
about an old native settlement
right where Negro men
were fishing for catfish

**

108th Preakness Winner

He moved Mom by ambulance
over a hundred miles
to his living room in Geneseo
so she could see the horses
Her doctors said she was
strong enough to make the trip
to ride past Keuka, Hemlock
and Conesus, maybe
Jesus was driving, Sirens
hailing her passing
down Pole Bridge Road
to a new home, a grave
she lasted only five days
got to see the chestnut and the bay
Kelly and Chloe prancing
in the snow, into the Pimlico
backstretch of dream
when the 108th Preakness winner
held fast to the rail
just nosing out Bright Promise

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