In honor of National Poetry Month, espnW is running a weekly poem on influential female athletes and women in sports.
october 23, 1993
game six of the world series.
bottom of the ninth,
joe carter stands ready to knock down the door of home plate
with a full count behind him.
my father is at the edge of his pulse.
my eyes are two full moons
watching my father.
my father's eyes are two mirrors
reflecting joe carter back to the tv.
...and swing and...my father jumps,
picking me up
as if i were the world series trophy,
there i am glowing golden between his hands.
the last time toronto saw a world series
the year of my parent's divorce.
to my father
there are only two seasons;
the on and off season
of major league baseball.
every other weekend during the on season
was a weekend at Dads
garden-plucked mint for Moroccan tea,
my brother challenging the kettle -- who could scream the loudest,
but we were calm as cold popcorn kernels
the minute we heard the click of the radio:
"good afternoon sports fans,
what a beautiful day it is today
for some blue jays baseball."
most of the time, we sat around a puzzle
or our lazy bones on the couch all afternoon
while the innings pitched the hours.
on the roof of my heart there is an antennae that only picks up AM590.
there is something so capable about the sound of a voice.
the way it lights words to pictures behind our eyelids.
the way it shows us everything we cannot see.
watching entire baseball games with our eyes closed.
how i can see the sound of the crack
as baseball collides bat
october 14th, 2015
american league division series
bottom of the seventh
an entire stadium...shoot,
an entire city
my city was cheering.
i was cheering
two lonely planets reflecting
my own reflection in the television screen
back at me.
my father lives in california now.
it's been 13 years since we've had an on season.
thirteen years of struggling to get back to the pedestal we once stood upon.
we have lost our footing many times,
falling short of our sometimes impossible expectations.
i have finished many seasons wondering
when the day might come
that i can pull out my blue jays jersey from the depths of my closet
and once again wear the last name written across the back of it,
the one my father gave me,
the relationships we have with our parents are not unlike the relationship a team has with it's city.
when we are losing our nerves to frustration, we don't want to talk about it,
but when our laughter brings us up out of our seats,
when we are a series of smiles,
we sweep nothing under our tongues,
definitely not our enthusiasm.
this past year, my father & i spoke more than ever.
he would remind me
that when i was six,
i crushed on roberto alomar in the same
gushy fashion i crush on kevin pillar now.
i giggle at my dad's bizarrely accurate emoji reactions to foul plays
when we text,
while we both listened to the game
in our respective houses,
In two separate countries.
it is the closest we have ever been.
the key to communication between my father and i is the toronto blue jays.
so consider this a thank you, to the 2015 blue jays roster,
for reminding us of the magic that occurs when the people of a city #comeTOgether
and for helping my father and i
find one another in the dark, the only thing required is our voices.
i often re-watch the bat flip, and every time, right before jose swings,
i close my eyes.
Sabrina Benaim was part of the 2014 Toronto Poetry Slam team which was crowned national champions this past October in Victoria, BC at the Canadian Festival Of Spoken Word. Her poems float along the spectrum of love, pain, identity and Beyonce.