The Pitcher - Poem by Kendall MarliaCooper
As a boy I was close with my mom.
Mom and I that's all I knew.
Then at seven my world flipped.
Mom said "Son, I have someone you should meet."
I was a third string catcher in the World Series.
Had to catch this pitch.
I caught hell.
Maybe ignorance is bliss,
I held up seven fingers and a smile,
I was proud of my age;
however in a week's time I will be holding up seventeen and a frown.
Mother asked me the question,
Too young to comprehend,
"Kendall, should I go with him to California or stay here? "
A week too young.
I had no way to predict how my answer would change our relationship.
Missing teeth make canyons in my ear to ear smile as I answer indifferently.
"Whatever makes you happy mom."
Forward a week.
Seven years on my bones but seventeen on my mind.
Chose a man over her boy.
She traded me for a drunk,
Traded me for a broken foot,
Pain that traveled up her leg flowed through me.
Staring blankly at a photo,
My baby sister and me,
Smiling like life was perfect.
Funny thing is… it was,
Drugs didn't exist,
Crying myself to sleep never happened,
And I would be inclined to push mother away not pull her back.
Then I caught that pitch.
I took a long drive to California,
In the tan of my grandfathers Lincoln I aged,
I reach the Mexican styled condos.
A girl rushes out to greet me,
I have to ask who she is.
My own baby sister!
Even the lady who birthed me, I don't know,
I know her by face but not soul.
I eventually go,
Back to my home in Portland
minus my mom,
Maybe if she stayed there I could forget,
Maybe I would not be so upset,
Like a yo-yo she came and went,
Saying this time she would be here to stay.
Like a yo-yo she descended again leaving only a note on a brown paper bag.
She's back now for good,
The pitcher is gone but his name lives on,
Her last name turned to his while she was away.
I'm a youthful fourteen years on my bones,
Fourteen abused and stretched years for I have had to grow up too fast.
Fourteen years on my physical stature,47 on the mind and trust issues.
Countless more stories like mine.
Stories muffled in the noise,
Millions silenced for no one listens to you in a crowded room,
For no one takes the time,
Time to understand what is beyond skin deep,
Millions silenced for no one listens to you in a crowded room.
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