I’m in Tampa for some reason,
at Flamingo Sports Bar. It’s early so
I milk a lukewarm pint until it levels me
out. In here, wood paneling
is a way of life: simple, easy, quick.
Two retired guys at the far end of the bar
sneer at a story about the Yankees
and their bullpen. One tosses out a theory
that Girardi, the manager, is trying
to spoil the team. For spring training
he demoted a former all-star pitcher
from starter to reliever and neither
sees the point. One shouts, “He’s too good
to come out of the pen!”

The music is pure 70s—Fogerty,
Air Supply, stuff like that. For a minute
I’m myself again. My phone vibrates.
I don’t know why I check but I check
and I’m reminded that grief is as close
as a thumbprint: She was found…door frame,
fan cord. Nobody had any… We were
out of town when…
She left nothing
for anyone to read. My brain fills the gaps
with questions as the worn carpet
beneath my stool slides away. Old guy:
“You believe this, CC coming on in relief?”
His friend shakes his head, mumbles,
“What a waste, man. What a waste.”


Photo used under CC.