When you bounded into the pitcher’s arms
It now seems too obvious an ascension
Of a man who brushed his burst fingers
Against the endurable
Only when he was ashamed.
In the beery afterglow
Your words were as pat as
You longed to be,
Your words so unlike your swing —
That lunging, halting, hoping
Motel Gideon’s Bible of a swing.
You can do this, we know,
This hitting, catching, running.
But it’s the after —
The plenteous and undetailed after,
The quiet after —
To which you’ll always belong.
You marooned your truck on
A roadside tree stump in Sugar Creek
And wandered down to the Missouri River,
Not long after feeling the peppery
Gust of cocaine on your sinuses and
In the back of your throat
For the first time in 22 years.
They found you with your shirt around your neck,
Which is a detail as vital as it is meaningless.
Face up or face down, they never said.
So we don’t know whether you saw
The shadowed switchgrass
As your heart fluttered out of reach,
Or a sky piled with clouds.
Whatever you saw, you saw it like no one else,
Through those rimless frames
And lenses too fathomless for a
Man who once lived off his eyes.
We know now each lens was less a lens
Than a deep-water amphitheater
That wouldn’t let anyone else quite know
What it all looked like to Darrell Ray.
(This piece originally appeared at FanGraphs. It has since been revised and made even worse, probably.)