by Mel Glenn (Brooklyn, NY)
A fan in the stands
reaching over the railing
for a foul ball falls 20 feet to his death.
His son next to him witnesses all.
So now tell me there is a God.
Tell me this wasn’t some kind of celestial joke,
exacted upon a father taking his son to a game.
Yes, the world has seen greater calamities,
but is this not a microcosm of the universe’s absurdity
when a tragedy so sudden, personal and wrong
can happen without a second’s notice?
Sure, it is not up to me to ask Job-like questions,
questions beyond my meager capacity to understand.
Yet, I am more outraged by these minor disturbances
than by full-scale slaughter I cannot comprehend.
I weep for the death of an individual,
but “at the immolation of a race, who cries?”
The author of twelve books for young adults, Mel Glenn has lived nearly all his life in Brooklyn, NY, where he taught English at A. Lincoln High School for thirty-one years. Lately, he’s been writing poetry, and you can find his most recent poems in a new YA anthology, This Family Is Driving Me Crazy, edited by M. Jerry Weiss.
He wrote this poem in response to last summer’s baseball tragedy when a fan fell twenty feet from the outfield stands while reaching for a ball during a game at the Texas Rangers’ ballpark in Arlington, TX. The quote in the poem’s last line is from John Blight’s “Death of a Whale.”
If you’d like to learn more about his work, visit: http://www.melglenn.com/