Teaching the Slider

In the middle of life's road, which I notice
keeps getting wider,


he asks me to show him a slider.
Bankrupt, filled with rage, and now caught

on the phone with a merciful woman who isn't his mother,
I slam the phone down,

order him to the back yard,
and pitch. Don't push off, separate,

because it's how you separate yourself from the mound,
it's all in the follow-through.

I come straight over the top.
They break smoothly, cleanly,

as I broke them off once, like knives outlining my victims.
He tries, is all legs and arms. His hands

half the span of mine, sneaks untied,
he's a present coming unwrapped. No, and I come through
and the ball cracks his glove, knocks it off.

He picks up my hand, turns my fingers,
touches my face, horrified.

He says he wants me to show him again
how to fall through your body

and burst into flames.

you're not coming all the way through.
You need to fall through your body

as if it weren't there. You need to plunge
down the steps your legs and back make

and then the ball will break
and fall off the end of the world

no matter what and after that
your body can burst into flames

for all I care

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