“Spitball” by Eloise Klein Healy

Eloise Klein Healy


for Mark Cull

Physicists speculate that when you leave a place,
a party, say, there are at least two universes where you go.
In one scenario, for example, you’re a dog groomer.
In another, a free-agent spitball pitcher
who has gone back to Wichita to visit your family, circa 1982.
Neither of you returns to the party. Those two roads diverged
and kept on diverging. One’s a north-south polar orbit
for a military satellite and one’s the busiest freeway interchange
in the United States, a sweeping wing of rebar and concrete
hurling vehicles along a wicked curve toward LAX.

In either case, the party scene is basically over
for you. How many parties can one person
experience in this universe and any other ones?
How many pieces of celery can a single hand drag-bunt
across infinite varieties of soulfully flavored dip mixtures?
Wherever you are, it’s time you go outside
for a breath of fresh air. There’s a lingering whiff
of clover, and across the street from the party
some scruffy Standard Poodles are chasing each other
in an Astro-turfed yard. Your moistened fingertips
find the car key in the pocket of your dog-hair dusted coat.

Nobody is going to miss you if you go.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012


Eloise Klein Healy: “I like poems in the same way I like baseball—especially the metaphor of a good sestina as a walk-off home run. Perhaps this is an unexpected statement to come from a lesbian feminist poet, but if you think about it baseball is a very form/content experience and the parts have to mesh smoothly. The parts of a poem have to mesh in a similar fashion. And then you have something beautiful and fine, something you can love and come back to again and again, and it is as excellent as it ever was. I believe the first professional woman baseball player will play at second base; she will wear her uniform socks showing.” (web)

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