“Southpaw” by Mike White

Mike White


The boy every boy
wanted to be, showing us
one day in the dugout
how he’d bloodied his old man’s
gravestone with a single
fist, with a right 
and a right and a right
because … he started
to say and stopped. 
We all looked 
at our hands, we all
had fathers.  

from Rattle #81, Fall 2023


Mike White: “I love to write about sports and other games that we play. It seems only half correct to suggest that sports can serve as a metaphor for life. As any sports junkie can attest, it’s at least as true the other way around. I had already written and submitted ‘Southpaw’ when Ron Koertge’s life/basketball/life poem, ‘Things and How They Work,’ from Rattle 77, turned up on my porch—but his is a poem that sets the bar, and sets it high, for this sort of thing.”

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