By Beau Boudreaux

The NOLA Rec Department supported
young athletes, baseball in the swelter of summer.

There was a beat up ice chest, ice cubes covered
in Florida Water soaking a cloth rag

for the back of the neck
or to pat your face.

I was nine and barely could glove the ball.
Practice began in early June, Coach Lupo

a sultan with a taped wood fungo bat—
stained jockey t-shirt and round gut

had a deal with the weather, brief afternoon showers
would stop at three for practice,

for two hours I learned
to focus, stay down on grounders,

toss them to first, side-arm to second
automatic, safe wearing a cup that he would check

with a tap of his bat before fungo, before we could take
the field—a reminder for cover, protection

how skin encases the fruit
like a banana peel.

Beau Boudreaux teaches English in Continuing Studies at Tulane University in New Orleans.  His first book-length collection, Running Red, Running Redder,was published in the spring of 2012 by Cherry Grove Collections. He has published his poetry in journals, including Antioch Review and Louisiana Literature, and in anthologies, including The Southern Poetry Anthology.

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