The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Brad Shurmantine – Poetry

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Brad Shurmantine

 

The Big Yard

Stunned, still moving in a sick green haze
my widowed mom
stared at a sea of blueprints and
chose the one with the biggest yard,
a field big enough to swallow up
our pain and terror—a place
to land.

                       But her three boys
saw a baseball field, saw home plate
and stepped off the bases.
That hedge was the end zone
           (poor bushes, whittled away
           by goal line stands).

Season after season after season

side yard touch football
quick slants toward Grandview Road
            pinpoint passes waited
                       or going long
sailing over the boxwoods
           (Lance Alworth!  Otis Taylor!)
to snag the ball hanging in the air
like a fat brown duck

           weaving and dodging the pass rush

then awful winter and waiting
and in March backyard baseball
           good old hardball
           bases scorched in the weedy yard
the big maple between 2nd & 3rd
a steady shortstop, our own green monster

hotbox, wiffleball, 500, Home Run Derby
           the ball bouncing off Grandview Road
           for a long out
                       (in any other park that baby
                        wouldabeen outahere—)

season after season
absorbed in games
we never felt
our father’s absence
our mother’s loneliness
in the big yard
we played and grew


Brad Shurmantine lives in Napa, Ca. He spends time writing, reading, tending three gardens (sand, water, vegetable), keeping bees, taking care of chickens and cats, and working on that “husband” thing. He backpacks in the Sierras and travels when he can, and has a serious passion for George Eliot. 

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