By David L Painter

It was not so much as to who he was
but what he might have been.
Somehow the time seemed to have slipped by
until 30 years had passed.
Years of rising
each morning clenching a black lunch pail
spending 10 hours down in the steel mill
only to return at the end of the day

When he was twenty-two 
and much to his surprise,
that girl with auburn hair and big doe eyes said yes.
Still it wasn’t too late, he had played
the game all his life
from little league to high school.
Everyone said that he had a
good glove and a decent stick.
He had been offered a chance to play
down Tupelo way, minor AA.
It won’t be long he told his young wife,
but he just had to take the chance.

However as dreams sometimes do,
they go by the way of a
headfirst slide into home plate
as the ump calls “You’re out.”
And the dust settles over
the rest of his life.

That two hundred a week
wasn’t enough with a baby on the way.
He could always play another day.
After all, everyone says that he had
a good glove and a decent stick.

Saturday night in front of the T V screen
as the flicker of black and white
dancing across his face,
perhaps down by the ocean were the
water wash’s him clean,
or at the corner bar where the foam
slides down his empty glass.
Maybe it’s the cry of a newborn child and
the laugh of a happy wife.
Still in all, the question remains
What if? If only.
Everyone said that he had a good glove and a decent stick.

2 thoughts on “What Could Have Been?

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