Every Child Needs A Father
Back in sixth grade Billy hits a ball so far
it never comes down, as he tells the story now,
50 years later, drunk in a bar, talking with strangers.
He rounds the bases but doesn't touch home.
The catcher tags him and the ump says he's out.
Sitting in the stands, his father curses so
Billy runs away with the puppy he found
that his father says he cannot keep.
He hides in the forest but his sister squeals
about the cave he now calls home.
Around midnight, the puppy is sleeping
when Billy sees searchlights weaving in the dark
and hears cops shouting 'Billy! Billy! '
The cops take him home and the puppy away.
Billy gets welts on his butt from a belt
and never plays baseball again but
every summer his father tells neighbors
some day my Billy will play for the Yankees
Donal Mahoney's Other Poems
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