“Baseball” by B.A. Van Sise

B.A. Van Sise


My mother hated it. Everything
about it: the field, the players,
the ads, the incessant America.
The smell of hot dogs. The dust
of peanuts. The way her son,
a good Italian made of Italian
ingredients by her Italian body,
would reduce himself to a blue
hat, blue jacket, blue shirt, and
go with that man who did all
this to her to see it with a smile.
She had an obligation, she was
certain, to stop this, and one day
pulled me aside and said what
were to her, surely,
the most necessary words
in the American language: you
should care about the

New York Mets as much as
they care about you. The New York
Mets did not care about
me. Still, thirty years later,
I like to see a game. Once a
year, I’ll sit in the warm sun,
covered in peanut dust, and
think, gently, about the
soft uncut grass of her grave.

from Rattle #78, Winter 2022
Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


B.A. Van Sise: “I spent most of the pandemic on the road, working as a photojournalist covering a crumbling nation. I wrote this on a little blue notebook while sitting on the lawn at a Memphis Redbirds game; you pay them five bucks, you get to lie out on the lawn while little kids run around in circles around you, and bigger kids run around the bases somewhere off in the distance. Put more simply: it’s Eden before the apples.” (web)

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