An Online Literature and Art Journal

The Collector

By Rhonda Pettit

Even with nothing in her mouth but memory,

she could taste the bubble gum’s metallic sweetness

as if the ink on the wrapping and card had flavored

the flat, pink stick, paper-thin

and hard as a bat.  She wanted a Mickey Mantle,

but had to settle for rookies so gave it up.

She couldn’t chew all the gum it would take

to build a dream team with duplicates

to trade.  This was The American Game

that lifted people’s hearts and dropped them.

Not allowed to play, she turned to stone.

Could it tell her more than the upward face

on the card, the stats on the back

she couldn’t grasp, the game’s chorus of cheers

and moans?  Could fossils cry Infinity

more wisely than the cone of the baseball field,

the space beyond the fence where the ball,

for all its conspiracy to score, its lofty force,

would finally fall like any stone, remain

one grounded thing among many?

She thought so, resenting the sugary goo

that pulled the silver from her teeth.



Rhonda Pettit teaches literature and writing at UC Blue Ash College where she also edits the print edition of the Blue Ash Review, and serves on the advisory board for the online edition. Her creative work has appeared in journals and anthologies across the U.S., some of it collected in the chapbook Fetal Waters (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poetic drama about sex slavery, The Global Lovers, premiered at the 2010 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. She has also published two books regarding the work of Dorothy Parker.