The Natural, Brooklyn, 1950

For Hal Wohl

He was so far beyond anything dreamed
in strength, speed, or skill

by our bodies for ourselves, I knew
he was designed for marvels.

He seemed beautiful. It would be years before
we connected that to girls.

We were unaware of them and still very pure.
No point playing ball

with him, since he won everything effortlessly
in the natural course, like nightfall

waiting sweetly, lightly, in the end-zone
after scoring a goal.

He was shy and seldom spoke, and I was wordy
but could not imagine him as dull.

I don’t recall his face but I remember his thigh,
the shock of seeing it swell

with a man’s strength under strain, no longer a boy’s,
alien, beautiful, fearful.