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Sandy Marchetti



Some young men play catch

in a field, call each other

on balls and strikes. How

can they possibly know? Dancing

through the grass, one high,

then low, and up again—

just outside! The seams slap

old leather. How can we know

where the strike zone is—imaginary

cube, filament I could not hold

in my hand? I asked, “How can

you tell?” and my father said,

“Watch—you’ll learn. You’ll know.”

They play, rhythmic and swift,

until the young men are gone.




Clutch the railing up the steps,

shuffle to your pew. Sing

two, a third if blessed. Whisper

cathedral, then profess.


We pray, but witness a wake

most days. We slake ashes

onto the track; a loud-

speaker calls us back.


The organ keys strike three,

abide the trinity. On Sunday

dressed our best, we crowd around

the beaming green and rise as one

spirits the blue. Tell me,

what do you do at church?




2003 was rare

because I wasn’t

with you.


I tell myself

maybe they lost

because I wasn’t.


I mouthed my

“No” from a

friend’s couch,


a basement

crowded with

Cub fans.


I wonder if

I’ll be with you

when it happens.


Will you

drive us up

Western Avenue,


denigrate city politics,

get us to the gate

for the early bird discount?


When it happens

I may have to embody

a relief pitcher,


relieved—who points

to the sky and kisses it,

acknowledging his ghosts.

-from Aisle 228 


Sandra Marchetti is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Aisle 228 from Stephen F. Austin State University Press (2023) and Confluence from Sundress Publications (2015). She is also the author of four chapbooks of poetry and lyric essays. Sandra’s poetry appears widely in Poet Lore, Blackbird, Ecotone, Southwest Review, Subtropics, and elsewhere. Her essays can be found at FanGraphs, Mid-American Review, Baseball Prospectus, Barrelhouse, Pleiades, and other venues. Sandy is the Poetry Editor Emerita at River Styx Magazine. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing—Poetry from George Mason University and now serves as the Assistant Director of Academic Support at Harper College in the Chicagoland area.  

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