21 December 2009

Ronald Moran

[from Ronald Moran's Waiting, Clemson University Digital, 2009]

English 101

On the first day of a class I never taught,
I asked the students if they ever played softball,
and when no one raised a hand, I told them we'll

play softball next class, and to prove how athletic
I was, I started to throw a ball that wasn't in my hand
and pulled up short, as if throwing nothing

through the air proved to be too complicated, but then
a ball appeared, miraculously, a small ball,
like a golf ball but softer and looking like a baseball,

and, after I threw it, it crossed a body of water,
as on TV when Tiger Woods or someone else hits
a golf ball and it crosses the ocean, landing in Barcelona

or on a back street of Paris and a group of young boys
marvel at its bouncing on the cobblestones,
never coming to a rest, and while mine never went

that far it did glide over a creek like a Frisbee.
Someone in class said that didn't show him much,
so I tried to find a field to play softball at a school

I had never been to before, and even if I found the field,
how could we get there, play the game, and get back
to our next classes in time? Somehow I ended up

with a 10:48 appointment to see the dean, as the first
or last resort, and when I asked his receptionist, How
long is my appointment?
she replied, It's over at 11:00,

which isn't much time to clear up the logistics,
or to ask where's a softball field and my classroom,
which I never found, but my ball just kept on gliding.

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