Nils Peterson: Talk in the Reading Room
About Nils Peterson

 The Reading Room
 Xmas Eve at the Big House 
 Christmas Mysteries 
Summers in Long Island 
 Father Arrives in the    Triumphal Car 
 Yankee Stadium Gone 
 A Thing of Beauty 
 Learning From My Father 
 Learning From My Mother 
The Bus


 Next Stop 
 Going to College
 My Lecture on Romanticism 
 A Story 
 Go Way From My Window 
• Singing in the Rain 
 On the Nature of Exposition 
 A Latin Class
 A Hero's Life
 Letter to Paul Cantrell
• Homecoming 
 The Moon and the Bulldozer



Thinking of my boyhood one — not long before it was a Victory Garden — the ground uneven with the ghosts of furrows past. The outfield tilted up to the street. No level playing field here. There were those who could play and those who played anyway. I was somewhere between. Over the fence was a home run at first, then, a double — when after most of us could clear the fence, an out. In truth, it was a pain, the left fielder scrambling over the railing to chase the ball before it started rolling down the hill. If you didn’t get it quick, it could go a quarter of a mile.

We learned to swing level, to try to meet the center of the ball for a line drive, or a little above for a sharp grounder made mean by the hard-packed, lumpy earth. It was nothing but Zen. At last the playing field felt as tight as last year’s sports jacket, and we set out into the great world to find a larger.

But now I’m thinking of poetry, of life, of my life, of the fact there are no sandlots anymore and what it means to try for singles instead of swinging for the fences. I’m thinking of the Vossler brothers, of Joe Mosca and his father who would take me to Yankee Stadium on the subway, I’m thinking of Joe Dimaggio, his lovely long stride along the plate into the ball and the whip crack of his arms as they swung around, thinking of my brother Bill, and his friend George who lived across the street but never played anything except bagpipe music on an old Victrola. I’m thinking now of Tommy Heinrich, “Old Reliable,” whom the Yankees could count on for a single when there were runners on base.

I’m thinking of this poem, wondering if it might skip through the hole between first and second to send someone home.

  © 2014, Nils Peterson

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