Tony Gloeggler

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Shagging Flies

The last hour of light
slips behind the backstop.
My father stands at home plate.
I trot to the outfield,
stand with my legs spread
shoulder length apart.
Bent slightly at the waist,
I place my hands on my knees,
lean my weight forward
and wait for him to toss
the ball up, swing the bat.
Crack. The sound sings
in my skin. I take
that first cross-over
step, get my legs
in gear, track the ball
down. I catch it,
cradle it in the web,
peg it back on one hop.
Crack. The Mick sprints
to the base of the monuments,
makes a back hand stab,
pulls up with his slight limp.
Crack. Crack. Yaz turns
his back to the plate,
watches the line drive
dent the Green Monster.
He whirls, unfurls
a perfect strike,
catches the runner
sliding into second.
Crack. Crack. Mary Ellen’s
seventh grade mouth
drifts down from heaven,
kisses my lips, slow
dances with my tongue.
Crack. Crack. Crack. I catch
my breath, lick sweat
off my upper lip. Crack.
Crack. Clemente charges
a hard hit single,
picks it up thigh high,
fires it home on a fly.
Crack. Aaron lopes back
to the warning track,
feels for the fence,
braces himself, leaps
and snatches the ball
out of a fan’s hands.
Crack. A shooting star
falls, lands in my mitt.
I fling it back with all
my might, watch it grow
wings, fly and splash
the twilight with blazing
bright lights. Crack. Willie
glides after a broken bat
blooper, loses his hat
to Candlestick winds,
catches the ball in his basket
and races my father home.

Published in Elysian Fields


Kelly next door
kept me awake again
last night. Her headboard
thumped against our bedroom
wall. Who’s she fucking
now.? My thoughts sped up
as they humped faster.
the car mechanic?
The pilot from Minnesota
who hits New York City
twice a month? The new guy
in 2G? Keep it up
baby, she begged.
The bed springs squeaked
louder, Yes, fuck yeah.

You fitted into my arms,
brushed my lips with a kiss.
Think she’s faking it,
I asked. We waited
for paint to peel, the wall
to fall. When they didn’t
you answered, Maybe.
I slipped my hand
under your tee shirt.
You curled closer,
went back to sleep.
I stayed awake,
pressed my palm flat
against your belly, felt
our baby’s fist open
match his hand to mine.

Published in Graffiti Rag


Tony Gloeggler is a native of NYC and manages group homes for the developmentally disabled in Brooklyn. His books include two full length collections One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press, 2000) which went into a second edition and The Last Lie (NYQ Books 2010). Until the Last Light Leaves was published in 2016 by NYQ Books.