Going down the Hall on a Gurney by Bill King

Beneath a silver sky 
men on mowers sheer
the wild green tongues
of a meadow.  But that
must have been yesterday 
because now half a dozen boys,
each as straight and tall as a little i 
bend in the middle towards home,
singing Hey batter batter, 
listen to my chatter, batter batter – 
Suh-wing! – an incantation cracked
open by wood on ball rising
so high it is a tiny comet skirting
the sun.  It is streaking towards 
a horse that always grazes 
in the pasture beyond, and now
the leftfielder launches; he hangs 
suspended – I can see him clearly, 
as if I were lying 
in the grass beneath:
the glove hand, open wide
for something he can 
never snare; the red cap,
name and number scrawled 
black under the brim; 
the red t-shirt, plump white P
over the heart; and blue
bell bottoms, yellow paisley
patches on each knee,
stretched tight and let out
twice for legs that trail 
like a great heron
taking flight. Such awkward 
beauty, I think — trying to make 
out the face —
until the slightly parted lips
of a woman droop 
into view; they lean
like a heavy bloom over
a still spring pool.
“Can you tell me your name?”
they say, “And can you tell me 
your date of birth?”  “Yes,”
I say, to the white blunt petals 
of bloodroot that flutter 
as she breathes. “I was born
in May,” I say to the purple
woods behind them.
“I was born in May.”

Bill King is a graduate of the University of Georgia’s M.A. program in creative writing and Ph.D. program in literature. He teaches creative writing and literature at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, where he directs the D&E Writers’ Series. His prose and poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Appalachian Heritage, Kestrel, Mississippi Quarterly, Southern Poetry Anthology, and Still: The Journal.

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