It’s a warm and humid summer afternoon and they have the field to themselves. The mother is short and trending toward curves and folds, but still close enough to her softball prime to have a strong arm, and she does a little O-yah, arm-pumping victory shuffle around the mound when she slips a good one past her swing-away daughter. The daughter, tall and lanky, all straight lines and right angles, returns the favor when she drills one of her mother’s pitches up the crease into deep right-center, or lofts a big, floating, full-moon of a shot over the left field fence.
After a while, they switch places, the mom squatting on a blue pickle bucket behind home plate, digging her wind-milling daughter’s pitches out of the dust, or rising liking a hummingbird to spear a high, hard one out of the air and whipping it back to the mound in one fluid motion. All afternoon it goes like this – the chittering back and forth banter, twang of the metal bat, smack of ball into mitt, teasing and lilting sounds of laughter – while the shadows move slowly over the fresh-cut grass, the sounds lingering in the cool evening air like love songs.
Scott Peterson is a retired educator from Kalamazoo, MI. His poems and essays have appeared in Longridge Review, Encore Magazine, Plain song Review and other places.