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Mickey Mantle's Last Dream
By Bill Meissner
He takes a deep breath, puffs his cheeks and
swings. Dreams are the sound of leather meeting
the whorls in the wood grain, dreams
are chalk dust, floating beyond home plate.
In this dream, Yankee Stadium is on the moon.
His hit rises high and deep, the red seams spinning lazily.
The ball floats over
the stadium roof, keeps arcing
until it climbs into orbit.
Instead of running the bases, he dashes toward the outfield,
lies down on the stiff grass of center, arms crossed,
and watches as the fans wave it goodbye
each time it passes overhead.
BILL MEISSNER teaches creative writing at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. His book of baseball short stories, Hitting into the Wind, is available in paperback from Southern Methodist University Press. In pick-up baseball, he still uses a wooden 1978 Dave Winfield Louisville Slugger which has been cracked and repaired three times.
© 2002 Bill Meissner
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