In the Batting Cage


by Lynne McMahon

Though the once seen, now unseen, may drop away

and hitter and spectator sigh,

complaining that the light distorts

the arc of flight, the blinking electric eye that says

the mechanism upthrusting its miraculous arm

disarms even the most alert --

it's meant to hurt your pride --

you nevertheless take the plate

and set the dial at Triple-A.

Did he play? the teenaged boy with batting glove
         and sponsored gear wanted to know,
         which made my day, or night, I should say,
as the batting cage became a holy place, draperies
of wire mesh swooping down in graceful folds
         to net and return each ball you hit,
         no misses out of thirty thrown,
as the banks of sulfur lights came on
and the kid high-fived you and took your place.

Lynne McMahon is a professor of English at the University of Missouri. Her third book of poems, All Quail to the Wallowing,will be published next year.