The High School Principal Writes a Poem to the Softball Team Now Taking the Field

He realizes that we are all trapped by our sentences—
each comes snagged in a tripwire
like the cracked neck of a rabbit.

Which is the sound the batter makes,
stepping to the plate. The faint snap.
The squeak in the heel of the shoe.
Taking off, sliding free. Finding first,
second, third.

All day long he's been babysitting the metal detector,
confiscating forks and Swiss Army knives,
scanning puffy coats and scarves.
He's written a poem about the magnetic bars
that search and scream, hidden inside the Gateway to Learning.
I am a gateway, he insists. You are, too,
with the air and the water, with your
hidden teeth.
The poem is trying to start.
The sentence is caught in his throat.

The softball team
arises as one, each chewing gum,
their round, serene ankles in tight socks,
the mooncurved frames of their shoes.

It's not beauty. It's not beauty.

It's a detailed test plan. It's backup
and disaster recovery. It's how they groan,
failing to slide home but still
going, always going.

Hannah Craig lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her work has recently appeared in Fence, 32 Poems, Post Road, the Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction, and elsewhere. She is an assistant editor for Anti- poetry magazine. (hrcraig@gmail.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761