The National Poetry Review

July Westhale


He hits and hits. It’s hitting season,
and we’ve all come to watch. It’s high-risk.
He could get caught trying to steal.
He could be off-base, shooting
for another man’s place like that.
He looks discouraged. We sing
Take me out. Everyone is singing.
Everyone is eating fistfuls
of peanuts and crackerjacks. He hits.
He gets a fly, by luck. We call this ‘out’.
He signals to a second man—they will cheat
a third. He hits and hits. He hits a man,
and the man must walk. He strikes,
but does not, himself, get to walk.
He fouls. He fouls over and over. We feel
bad about his fouling. We sing
Root root root for the home. Home has plates
for everyone, and one diamond.
Home has many men. Home is divided.
Getting there is dirty, and requires hitting
but not striking. It requires switching sides,
and throwing curves. It requires cheating.
The point is: a man gets to go home.
This is called winning.

JULY WESTHALE is a poet and writer living in Oakland, CA. She is the author of Trailer Trash (winner of the 2016 Kore Press Book Award), The Cavalcade (Finishing Line Press), and the children’s book Occasionally Accurate Science (Nomadic Press). She has been awarded grants and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, the Lambda Literary Foundation, Sewanee, and Bread Loaf, among others. She is a regular contributor at The Establishment, and her work has also appeared in The Huffington Post. Her most recent poetry can be found in burntdistrict, Eleven Eleven, 580 Split, Quarterly West, and PRISM International.

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