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Poetry:  Baseball Cap

Jay Liveson
JAMA. 2001;285(12):1641. doi:10.1001/jama.285.12.1641.
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Extract

The days are slower, full of empty hours.
No trouble waking, pushing
with the failing arm, a seated pause,
a left-handed shave—not bad, not bad.
No trouble with shower knobs. And look,
she's picked the Yankee cap today. It's hanging
on the towel hook.
In better years, they gathered them
one at a time. Summertime,
he drove from town
to dusty town, cheered local teams,
collecting obscure caps—
Bullets, Bravos, Eagles. At home
they dedicated a wall
dangling each by its plastic band
its billed lid tipping its neighbor.
She'd arrange them in color patterns.
He'd sort them by League.
He wore them for his local games, his walks.
Now, he wears one everywhere—to work,
to restaurants. He's adjusted the band
to take up the hair slack,
to tighten it against the slick radiation scars.
He seldom takes it off.

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