Deep in right field, beneath the billboards
for auto parts and beer, stands the utility man.
He is waiting. Shifting from one lifetime
to the next. Waiting for someone else’s good fortune,
someone else’s failure. The collision
of ball and bat lasts 1/1000th of a second
and in that opening, he can calculate
his future—its gravity, drag and back spin.
It is green, newly mown. It is scorched by sun.
I once knew a woman who fell in love
with a utility man. I have loved too few or
too many utility men. I love a good utility man,
he’s good with his hands. He goes wherever
he’s needed, understands the loss that comes
without consolation, the mystery of compassion
carried in the path of a whirling object. Simple—
just will yourself to grasp your problems
in one hand. He is out there now, waiting
in the constancy of deficit and reward. In
the trajectory of a summer evening
when everything seems possible, he has found
the ineffable (a word he learned from Miss Pacini,
junior year). It is green, newly mown. It is stitched
with milkweed and flying right at him.