Karen Sagstetter

No Crying in Baseball

No crying when I struck out swinging.
No crying when a runt smashed a grand slam
off my pitch. Or when I wrecked my legs
black and blue sliding into third. After all
this was only after work, a league on the Mall.
No crying when I was picked off
at third for the third time
or when my wondrous fly ball
whacked the Castle
and bounced back like a prodigal to a centerfield glove.
Not even when my mind wandered to the beach
and I bobbled the ball and the manager screamed
get out of my life!

I’ll tell you what brought me tears.
I was in space, orbiting the generous blue earth
and pressing my face against
the plain window glass of my ship.
I witnessed ball fields in neighborhoods on every continent,
green diamonds shining through glorious clouds
and dogs all over D.C.
chasing grounders in the afternoons.

Karen Sagstetter has published poetry and fiction in forty literary journals, including Shenandoah, Poet Lore, and Tidal Basin Review as well as two chapbooks of poetry, and two nonfiction books, and she has won first prizes in contests sponsored by Glimmer Train Press and Antietam Review. She studied in Japan as a Fulbright journalist and has worked in museum publishing for many years at the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries and at the National Gallery of Art.