Bob Bradshaw, Ganbare

Southpaw

I miss the scent of fresh cut grass,
the sound of baseballs

slapping mitts — like the whack
of hail hitting shutters.

I miss the hecklers:
the umpire’s ears burning,

so hot they could ignite.
I miss days when batters

lunged at my curves
like boys swinging brooms

at darting cats.
I miss the camaraderie,

drinking beer with catchers,
sharing tips on hitters. And now?

My days are spent like foul balls
lost in the outfield stands.

I’m just another bum
in the high altitude seats

criticizing the umpire’s calls
from four hundred feet
away.

Ganbare

When my bicycle I was learning to ride
under a blueberry sky tumbled

like a shot horse, mom shouted “Ganbare!”
“Hang in there!”

And mom’s advice when years later
I stuttered like a lovesick cricket

asking a girl to dance?
“Ganbare.”

It was as if the word could heal
a burnt forest, or a heart

as gashed as any pinata’s.
And when I struggled with Spanish

as if it were a car engine’s parts
strewn across a garage floor

that I would never be able
to assemble?

Of course, “Ganbare.”
Would mom have lost her faith in me

if I had never learned a Spanish word
other than sombrero?

Or if every nail I hammered
had buckled? No, there would always

have been another shiny nail waiting
to be perfectly struck down.

“Hang in there. Ganbare!”
was as constant as any algebraic axiom,

a north star that to this day
my heart’s compass
turns to.

Setting Up a Telescope for my Granddaughter

I have reassembled my telescope,
given to me 60 years ago.
Years from now, Ashlyn,
we’ll gaze together
at the glitzy stars,
burning like penny candles.

If you look up
at the glittery sky your mama
and papa hung just
for you,

I will show you the moon,
pointing out its rooms
like a real estate agent
praising a house
to a potential buyer.

There’s the moon’s nursery,
a night light glowing. And there,
a playroom.

Ashlyn, sweetheart, do you spot
the Chinese princess
with her rabbit?

Recently retired, Bob Bradshaw is searching for a hammock to spend his days in. His poems have appeared in Apple Valley Review, Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, Loch Raven Review, Pedestal Magazine, Stirring and many other publications.

To read more of Bob, click here.

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