Rube Waddell Is Dying

He pitched as though he were
Throwing fallen apples at a knothole.
Then again, he threw fallen apples at a knothole
As though he were
Throwing fallen apples at a knothole.
For there is no mystery in the literal, no apology.
Which is why they called him an idiot,
Which is what he was.

You could fit his desires in a pillbox —
Trinkets that shone and crude origami
Made from his paychecks.
That should make these moments
Simpler and less freighted,
With the blood wrung from his lips
And his lungs as fat as an archdiocese.

Surely his only regret is that
He can’t rise from this bed and
Drop the ball once more,
Let it roll dumbly and
Elegiacally off the mound,
Swivel his head toward the road
And hurtle through the outfield and over the fence
After the passing fire engine,
His cap fluttering behind him like a wasp,
Which is the other thing he liked to chase.

His bones shall make a fine mill whistle.

3 thoughts on “Rube Waddell Is Dying

  1. Re: Best Names in 2020 MLB Draft: How did you overlook Beck Way (Yankees)? Is he the lead in the next Star War sequel?

  2. Goethe maintained that the applause of a single human being is of great consequence. My palms are red from the standing ovation I am giving you. I came to it rereading about the perfect game Addie Joss pitched in the 1908 playoffs.
    I started lazing through T-206 cards of the players involved in that epic contention. Found your poem. Superlative writing. Bravissimo!

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