“First Time At Third,” by Jacqueline Sweeney

This poem by Jacqueline Sweeney is quite amusing. Anyone who’s ever played third base can sympathize with the protagonist of this piece. It’s a position where you need to be on your toes, and over-excitement can cause this in anyone.


First time at third
nothing but nerves.
He fist-whomps his glove,
tucks in his shirt,
kicks up the dirt
for the twenty-fifth time.

Gets in position
pumped up to win,
ump sweeps the plate.
Will it ever begin?

A quick-line drive!
He leaps for the sky.
His body’s an arrow,
glove aimed high.

What’s this?
He stumbles,
he tumbles to earth.
His glove is still empty,
face red as his shirt.

The game hasn’t started?
“Play Ball!” can be heard
and he’s tried to snag
a lowflying bird;
fastflying, linedriving
feathers and all.

How could he think
that a bird was a ball!

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