IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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MANTLE

William Heyen

Mantle ran so hard, they said, he tore his legs to pieces. What is this but spirit? 52 homers in '56, the triple crown. I was a high school junior, batting fourth behind him in a dream. I prayed for him to quit, before his lifetime dropped below .300. But he didn't, and it did. He makes Brylcreem commercials now, models with opened mouths draped around him as they never were in Commerce, Oklahoma, where the sandy-haired, wide-shouldered boy stood up against his barn, lefty for an hour (Ruth, Gehrig), then righty (DiMaggio), as his father winged them in, and the future blew toward him, now a fastball, now a slow curve hanging like a model's smile.

 
 
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