Vol. 6

Exhibit #408 from The Extinction Museum—Bisected baseball with cork center, two layers of beige yarn, white horsehide cover stained with dirt and grass, black and red stitching, unraveling


Grandmother said a baseball of her youth had a sturgeon eye at the center. Spiny fish, nearly prehistoric, giants they wrestled in the mud rivers that bracketed the town. One girl would hold the head while another slit the underbelly for the precious eggs, sold to the grocer by the cupful. She told a good story, smoked two packs a day, from which baseball cards would fall. They also came in cereal and cracker boxes, packs of gum that tasted of turpentine, were hidden in snowdrifts of laundry detergent. In that household of women, men were turning up all over. Affable types, smiling gamely, swinging at air. We used them as bookmarks, put on puppet shows, made them kiss each other and reach for cans on the high shelf. Grandmother’s rocking chair creaked as loudly as the moon rising on a summer night. She got thinner and thinner. Someone in the government decided baseball was good for morale, and all the sturgeon dove deeper. One by one, we went out into the world with our memories of those paper men, bored into trees for their cork and rubber, held the burning thing close to our mouths.

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