Baseball Before the Apocalypse by Leah Mueller

 

Cluster of bodies, soap
bubbles at a Cub’s game:
1983, our bicycles shackled
to poles outside, entwined in

a steel snare. To saw through
tempered metal would
give thieves the pick of several.

We smuggled imported
beer in white bottles, eight
bucks a pack, and salads
in sturdy plastic containers
from the Bread Shop.

Bleacher seats three dollars,
nicknamed the “Animal Section.”
No one at the entry gate
ever checked for weapons.

We were good to go, unless
bottles protruded from the
sides of our backpacks,

or we spilled marijuana
on the sidewalk by mistake
as we entered Wrigley Field.
A friend once said,

“If you were one of the lucky
people who got to change
the scoreboard by hand, you’d
be so fucking cool by default.”

We drank beer, passed
around joints, ate salads
and, when the game was over.

we took our trash home
and disposed of it properly.
We were good citizens.

No one patted our thighs,
thrust their hands down our shirts,
groped under the waistbands of
our shorts, searching for explosives.
No one checked our health records

for evidence of compliance.
It was just a goddamned Cub’s game,
a few 22-year-old kids,

and a summer that would end
like all the others after.

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