Leah Mueller

Baseball Before the Apocalypse

Cluster of bodies, soap
bubbles at a Cubs game:
1983, our bicycles shackled
to poles outside, entwined in

a steel snare. To saw through
tempered metal would
give thieves the pick of several. 

We smuggled imported 
beer in white bottles, eight 
bucks a pack, and salads 
in sturdy plastic containers
from the Bread Shop.

Bleacher seats three dollars, 
nicknamed the “Animal Section.”
No one at the entry gate
ever checked for weapons.

We were good to go, unless
bottles protruded from the 
sides of our backpacks, 

or we spilled marijuana 
on the sidewalk by mistake
as we entered Wrigley Field.
A friend once said,

“If you were one of the lucky
people who got to change 
the scoreboard by hand, you’d
be so fucking cool by default.”

We drank beer, passed
joints, ate salads, and
when the game was over,

we took our trash home
and disposed of it properly.
We were good citizens.

No one patted our thighs,
thrust their hands up our shirts,
groped under the waistbands of 
our shorts, searching for explosives. 
No one checked our health records

for evidence of compliance.
It was just a goddamned Cubs game,
a few 23-year-old kids,

and a summer that would end
like all the others after.

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