In the cage, my son strikes a pose
angular and fluid, a moment
about to unfold, a turn, a twitch
of muscles sending a machine’s pitch
back into netting. After two decades
we’ve returned. He knows now
how war sends refugees into the sea,
how seldom quiet results in peace.
He knows how long it can take
to help one student find a job.
Around us, a carnival in a tired town–
families dawdle on putt-putt greens
and golfers drive buckets of balls.
Again and again, his hands flick a bat
with a child’s delight and a man’s force.
Beside an orange light, a ball appears,
flies and is driven back. Certainty lives
in a moment of contact. The light
goes dark and he steps out,
hands me his bat, and I step in.
Michael Lauchlan’s most recent collection is Trumbull Ave. (Wayne State University Press). He has had poems in numerous literary journals, including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Tar River Poetry, Harpur Palate, Poetry Ireland, Cortland Review, and elsewhere.