Charles Edward Wright

Man & the Infield Fly Rule


An Infield Fly is a fair ball . . . which can be caught

by an infielder with ordinary effort . . . .

—Major League Baseball Rule 2.0


Unfold your painted wooden seat and claim

an armrest, leverage for taking in

the unsolved beauty of this changeless game,

its quantum gibberish of rules played out

across a field of seeming symmetry,

its bounds obliquely reached, a single point

dilated over infield skin of sand

and clay, past level thriving grounds; a game

the worried peace of which is split by sprints,

by hurly-burly, dives and gallops, then  

assessment through another worried peace,

from start to end, the ending settled not

by sun nor pendulum—only deferred

now and again by the caprice of heav’n—

but played however long until it’s done:

this changeless game, as perfect as the earth.

Yet with a force at third and with but one

or no one out, a ball hit high and short

obliges us to face the hateful gain

our less than ordinary effort could

and surely would provoke, watching it fall

untouched and damning, with deliberate,

unsporting disregard, watching it strand

and doom our rivals to the luckless clay,

the heartless sand, the certain fate. A less

than ordinary effort rewarded

obliges us to legislate around

the barrenness of our integrity.

This, this impenetrable joy is ours,

but we by turns undo it, we alone. 

An infield fly, with an indifferent

trajectory against the evening,

hangs emblematic of a cast off moon.

Charles Edward Wright was raised on a narrow neck of land between the Potomac River and the Mattawoman Creek, in a town where the eggs were never poached, but the venison likely had been. It stands to reason, then, that his work would appear too infrequently to warrant mention here.



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