Arlene Neal, “World Series, 1966”

Arlene Neal

Daddy lay still on the couch
Cigarette smoke blue and thin
In television light, half-way
Watching Walter Kronkite
Forgetting the Dodgers and
Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax
Drifting into his Philippine dreams,
When the boy came that night

We left without speaking, not
To stir the sleeping slugger
Mama’s hands in dishwater
Never lifted to wave, her eyes
On my fishnet hose thin, flimsy
And cold in late October dark
Jade East wafted heavy in his wake
Blonde breath short and white

I tugged my wool jumper down,
The one like Twiggy’s, trying to
Stretch to my knees but hopeless
In the bucket seat too far too deep
I didn’t know him or his friends
From Up North, his hair ruffled
Like John Lennon’s partly covering
Pimples red and raw pitiful clawed.

At the drive-in movie, he talked
Of big schools, God being dead,
Weed, acid music, and the Stupid War,
Biting his nails between topics
But he was free enough not to
Wear socks in winter and talk
Even when no one listened so
I startled when he showed intentions.

I shut my eyes and ears ashamed
Hating his breath and clumsy hands
Sick of the war and freaks and beaded
Potheads and dishonest politicians
All there in fogged up windows
But, to this day, try as I might, I just
Can’t remember what the movie
Was about or who won the game.

3 thoughts on “Arlene Neal, “World Series, 1966”

  1. This one evokes the geographies of time/place/gender with exquisitely placed detail; all of which makes the last inability to remember even more telling.

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