There are many battles I have lost and won since last you fought beside me in our simple wars. Masters of the front porch ship, backyard diamond, hockey in the street, football on the lawn behind the school. Major leaguers, Crickets, saviors of the world in tales that we told each other.
You and I, borrowed brothers. Stolen cigarettes, Kool Aid so thick with sugar it poured like syrup into paper cups. Sometimes I felt like Lennie; sometimes I felt like Steinbeck, but oh the fat of our small land was sweet for that brief season.
There are buildings now in fields where we freed the French, pavement where we galloped through the canyons of the west. Our stadium is gone; Nellie Fox is dead these thirty years. It’s been fifty springs since Rocky Colavito stretched the bat across his back and glared out at Frank Lary in the April sun.
These new people do not know me, though I’ve been in all their houses. I’ve asked them with my eyes if they know you, if they’ve seen your chrome-red three-speed down the street, in the yard, leaning on the wall behind the drug store when you went for Suncrest and a PayDay bar.
But they have not. They come and go and do not know. They certainly don’t care.
There are many battles I have lost and won since last you fought beside me in our simple wars. It is only I who comes to ask.
Over the past twenty years, John Kristofco’s poetry, short stories, and essays have appeared in over a hundred different publications, including: The Cape Rock, Rattle, Folio, Blueline, and The Cimarron Review. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times. John lives in Highland Heights, Ohio, with his wife Kathy.