Sunday, April 21, 2013

Maria Testa - First Game Ever, Perfect

First Game Ever, Perfect
Maria Testa

We’re going to win

We're going to win
and I’m in the game
and my mind is a swirl
of words and slogans
I have heard all of my life,
and I am suddenly aware
that standing here at second base . . .
            it really does seem better.

And I start to think that
this might be enough
just being out here for the final out, enough
more than I ever dreamed, even,
I don’t need to make a play.

(It’s not enough.)

So I am jealous
when the ball bounces to short
even though the shortstop, the star, i
s my one real friend on the team –
a new friend made suddenly close, because he knows.
About me.

He fields the ball
and looks to me for the force,
the beautiful force that I forgot all about . . .
He looks to second, to me
because after all, I am
second base.

And I am there.
I am there receiving the throw,
the perfect throw
right to my glove,
the final out.

And I know that I am one of the boys.

I have been one of the boys
all of my life,
I have known this forever,
but today, this moment,
might be the very first time
that the whole wide world
and everyone in this perfect game
knows it, too.

©Maria Testa. All rights reserved.

Yay! Baseball! OK, sure... Maria Testa has written a poem here that's about more than baseball. And really, those of us who write about baseball are almost always writing about more than the sport itself. But that being said.... Yay! Baseball!

First Game Ever, Perfect is not the first time Maria Testa has written about baseball, a subject she's featured in novels (both prose and in verse). And as always, it's never just about the ballgames or how great a player Joe DiMaggio was, but also about family, or being a girl playing a boy's game, or the Italian-American experience. Yes, and baseball, natch, but I think it's those deeper themes and her ability to capture feelings with perfect pitch that make her books so readable.

And, of course, she doesn't just write about baseball or just write novels. Tackling everything from picture books to YA and MG novels to short stories to poetry with tremendous power, fantastic word choice, and storytelling skill, Maria Testa is a five-tool writer, if I may borrow a phrase, and I am thrilled to have her here today as part of 30 Poets/30 Days.

Yesterday, Jenny Whitehead introduced us to The Litterbug. Tomorrow... Steven Herrick with Climate change! For more on 30 Poets/30 Days and ways to follow along, please click here.


Charles Waters said...

Nice poem. Loves how it captures the feelings (and sometimes jealousy) of the sporting life. Excellent!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's never just about baseball. :-) Loved this poem, Maria Testa! (Love baseball, too. Go Braves!)

tanita✿davis said...

☺ The game never is JUST a game, after all.