“Joe Shlabotnik Fan Club News” by Eric Roy

Joe Shlabotnik Fan Club News

Spring should mean baseball or birds electrocuted
feathered asterisks of sex punctuating page after page

of manicured front lawn. Now, when mother calls
for rain breaking in the dirt, father flashes inside

and high, so naturally a fat orange fastball sets
straight down the middle of the plate-white sky.

Comfort in, not metrics, but common weaknesses.
Scar-red stitching around each our live-ball heart.

And sent down! to the Green Grass League
where we all regularly make spectacular catches

out of routine fly balls and continue batting .143.
.143—not a bad lifetime average considering

all the nasty stuff flying in and at your head.
Each morning waking up, stepping to the plate.

A knock, a walk, watching another day float by
you wish that you had back. Plunked every now

and again. That final strike. Still, once dug into
the dirt, inside the batter’s box, who has a better view?

Eric Roy’s recent poetry can be found or is forthcoming at Bennington Review, Green Mountains Review, Salamander, Salt Hill, Sugar House Review, Spillway, Third Coast, the American Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere. His hybrid ‘Origin Story’ has been nominated for inclusion in Best Small Fictions 2021 and can be viewed here: