Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mark Irwin, "Landscape With Ball"

Mark Irwin

Landscape With Ball, Then Smeared With Shadow

Standing by home plate, he throws the white ball up
then hits it toward me in the field, all the Blue Ridge Mountains

beyond, and I’m running under it, trying
to judge the arc of its

fall and how, as he taught me, the wind
like time will carry an

event. (We played

on Sundays after church and, walking all the way
to that field, I’d pound my fist

into the cowhide palm and smell its sweat, like that of his Hat

White dot against blue getting
larger, and I’m planting one foot and see

on that tree line (rain now on each black coat carrying
a rose) opened ground. “Keep your eye

on the ball.” —Wind, white smack of the closet door
I open to a shirt (forty years) whose body’s gone.


Mark Irwin’s sixth collection of poetry, TALL IF, will appear from New Issues in the fall of 2008. He teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles and Colorado. Recent work appears in Antioch Review, APR, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry, and Tri-Quarterly.

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