Between the Lines
All that prevents him from
devoting his total attention
to the baseball game
is the pile of student writing
between him and the TV,
a stack of cliches and
tired metaphors,
worn out by a thousand previous users,
and abusers,
of the language.

He sifts through the pile
looking for one which will
motivate him to continue on
to a second and a third,
and so forth,
a metaphorical rounding of the bases,
until he has reduced the pile to nothing,
and able to turn his full attention to
the Yankees and Red Sox.

Glancing above his glasses to catch the replay
of Derek Jeter rocking a line drive
off the green monster
and only getting a single,
he ponders the mysterious twist of baseball fate
that penalizes a player for hitting a ball
too hard,
like he is penalizing himself for caring
too much,
about grading these papers.

So he pores over them
with the Fenway crowd noise
as background
until he chances across a phrase
which makes him grab the remote
and click the ball game into darkness
and stare at the screen
to see the image which had leapt off
the page in front of him
far more vivid than the night-game-green
of Fenway's infield,
reverberating louder than
the crack of Derek's bat.

from The Poetry of Teaching.
Thornetree Hill Poetry Press
Syracuse, NY. 1998.
Copyright © 1998 by Herm Card

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Herm Card Poetry- "Between the Lines"
Published: October 23, 1998
Copyright © 1998 by the Cosmic Baseball Association