poem for a friend on his birthday

As a young boy, he clutched a book about Mickey Mantle,

in the car outside the doctor’s office.  He held on,

as if it were a Louisville slugger, and his grandfather

called him Homer, for his legendary hit in little league.

He never finished reading–the book kept eluding his grasp.

He remembers loving the feeling of almost gaining

momentum with this man’s story–he was such a force,

so comforting in his own mesmerizing way.

Now, a teacher meets young flustered faces in the hallway.

He stops to hear  their stories, tries to grasp their worries,

comforting them, with his own watchful eye

on the ball coming anxiously across his plate.

The little boy will understand some day what it means

to read a story to the end; in the meantime, he has a teacher.

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