Survival

SURVIVAL

 

By Steve Hermanos

10/10/16

 

I’m freezing,

On the ferry,

1 am;

Somehow the back of my neck’s sticky with mustard,

Jeans splotched with spilt beer,

And a crushed spiderweb of blue cotton candy,

The boat rocks with revelers and sleeping kids,

The happiest boat in the world;

 

This is what happened, I think:

 

2nd inning;

 

Off Bumgarner, Bumgarner,

Who hadn’t let up a run in a post-seasons since Zachary Taylor’s presidency…

Arrieta knocks one high and deep to left,

Gonna be caught on the warning track, of course—

No, it falls, as if ordained,

Into the mitt of a fan in the bleachers,

A fan in a Cubs cap,

What an omen;

 

Is this how it ends,

This even-year dynasty,

All this joy and celebration?

 

3-run homer,

 

Arrieta!

 

3rd inning;

 

Arrieta,

On the mound looking like Bumgarner’s older cousin;

 

Denard Span double,

Buster Poser single;

 

3-1;

 

5th inning;

 

Denard Span whacks a triple;

Finally, Brandon Belt doesn’t look so lost in the presence of the white pentagon,

Hits a sac fly;

 

3-2;

 

8th inning;

 

Down 3-2,

And here’s another monster,

Aroldys Chapman,

Nine foot three,

Six hundred eight pounds of muscle,

Throwing the ball faster than a Lake Michigan cigarette boat;

 

Belt on 2nd, Posey on 1st, one out;

You’re telling me, Conor Gillaspie’s gonna be able to hit that bullet?

 

Gillaspie’s bat 180s the projectile over Chapman’s head, yes,

Over the outfielders,

To the wall,

A triple,

Scoring three;

 

At the rail,

Of the visiting dugout-boat,

Cubs skipper Joe Maddon,

Is chagrined;

 

We exit the inning 5-3,

But shoulda scored another on a Gregor Blanco doinker up the first base line,

When Brandon Crawford and Roberto Kelly were sipping espresso,

Chatting about Hawaii and the election,

Rather than trying to score Crawford;

 

Ah, the little frustrations make all the difference to winners;

 

9th inning;

 

Resurrected closer,

Sergio Romo,

Tosses a pitch,

Crumples to the ground,

Like God is stuffing his jack-in-the-box back inside;

 

Sergio pops upright;

Walks the leadoff batter;

Serves a cookie to Chris Bryant,

Who whacks a rainmaker to left,

It bounces off the six in edge of the car cutout;

Oh if the wall were three feet deeper!

 

Game tied, 5-5;

 

With so much closer trouble,

How can the Giants win?

 

Bottom 13th;

 

Mike Montgomery,
Journeyman Cubs pitcher,

Surrenders a double to Brandon Craw,

Joey Panik crushes the ball to centerfield,

Vast centerfield, keep getting larger,

But the Cubs can’t retrieve this one;

 

Crawford scores,

 

6-5;

 

Giants win;

 

The boat’s docked;

Ernie the deckhand is exhausted and maybe drunk;

“Get off, Steve;

There’s another game,

Later.”

 

—End of poem

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