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With One it was Baseball

Lyn Lifshin*



long and lean, somehow too a parole
officer. I mean the baseball books
sold but I guess the novels? I'm not
sure. He was pleasant at the art
colony but I saw slivers of a military
Nazi like few moves. Nothing you'd
run from, nothing you'd call belligerent
but when you're in a mansion, a few
drinks before dinner, a walk thru a
garden of lilacs, a little lunch brought
to your studio in a basket, someone
to clean your room and bring new
towels. In the real world where I had
another boyfriend, it was different.
With no warning he showed up in my
town. Just back from my downstate
lover, unpacking and washing my
hair, he started knocking on the door.
My silence didn't discourage him.
I waited an hour, my heart pounding
while he banged. Then I thought it was
safe only to find ladders pressed up
against the upstairs windows, rescue
workers, fire men, police, wild to
know if I was ok. With his parole office
connections, he tried to track me in
various towns. He could call cops
in a town when he thought I would be
there. This got old. The knock on the
door in the night. My real boyfriend
didn't go for the drill and the parole
officer baseball writer finally backed
off until years later at a ranch in
California he showed up. I was touring
with a film maker and when I agreed
to go out for a drink, said she would
have to come too. I saw a flash of rage, it
had that door banging craziness, the
insistence of firemen peering in
my window and suddenly I could
imagine him doing something not
connected to playing ball with a baseball bat



*2010 WOOD COIN: Of Drains and Ladders in this Life Issue: Lifshin, “With One it was Baseball”