Adam Tavel

Ninth Inning Strikeout

There must be some relief in all those boos
that rise and fade as quickly as a sneeze.
It’s over now, they sigh, the beer-buzzed fans
who toss their greasy nachos in disgust
at better, empty seats below. The rich
depart, no matter what, before the score
burns off the board. They have a night ahead
and music for the drive. The slap of gloves
tossed on the dugout floor is apt applause
for standing numb and peeling tape from wrists
while crews behind you jog to rake the clay.
They smooth all evidence away. The game
belongs to commentators now, throned high
inside their booths, who hissed each time you swung.

Adam Tavel’s third poetry collection, Catafalque, won the 2017 Richard Wilbur Award (University of Evansville Press, 2018). He is also the author of The Fawn Abyss (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Plash & Levitation (University of Alaska Press, 2015), winner of the Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry. His recent poems appear, or will soon appear, in The Georgia Review, Puerto del Sol, New Ohio Review, Sixth Finch, Salamander, Potomac Review, and American Literary Review, among others. You can find him online at



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