Jennifer Rane Hancock

2 Poems

18 1/2 Minutes

            (after Sheila Babbie’s “Lasso of Truth”)

HR Haldeman told me what was said, but only

honesty will set you free, Dick. Dick,

look at yourself. Penned up in your skivvies

 

and enjoying it. I’m not a dominatrix, Dick.

Pay attention. Tell me what you told Haldeman.

The boys got it right in The Post, yeah?

 

You know this crap wouldn’t fly on Paradise

Island. You can’t just use the power of the Presidency

to ruin everyone else’s day, Dick. Dick,

 

are you listening? We have to have it from you.

Your pardon has been revoked; Gerry sent me

himself. Yes, he’s tried the rope. No I don’t

 

want to tell you about it. Dick, please.

Your country needs to heal. The 70s have barely

started and it’s looking grim. Stop it. Stand

 

still. Yes, Alcatraz looks better in the movies.

Will you pay attention? The 18 1/2 minutes.

It’s important. The gas crisis is coming,

 

the hostages in Iran, kids running behind

mosquito trucks spraying DDT. It’s going to be

bad. And they’ll all point to that gap in the tapes

 

as the turning point. Not Vietnam. Not Kent

State. The gap. Dick!! This is your legacy

we’re talking about. Stop touching the rope.

Hitter’s Park

            First exhibition game on the moon. April 4, 2026

 

The cleats made sense but little else. Media stunt—

shimmering chalk outlines of an infield.

 

The eight dignitaries and oligarchs sat

strategically (Elon Musk’s webbed glove ready).

 

Back home we only half watched, the moon

always in the sky like a home run disappearing

 

into stadium lights. There were a few parties,

shared hot dogs. The desperation of these years:

 

the edict from Russia, the specter of

space colonization, rations.

 

A Cuban humidor shuttled in to keep

the white ball weighty enough for

 

history. Bobbie Thompson dead. Both New York

teams under domes now after nor’easters

 

canceled three Opening Days.

The players (four to a team) long retired,

 

space travel being what it is, muscle mass.

The 47 year old Cy Young winner juggled

 

a rosin bag (it floated off toward Castor

and Pollux) dug a moon boot toe into the rubber

 

and tossed it underhand like a President.

He fell back to second base and tilted his helmet

 

toward earth, the ball sailed over its curve. Like most

human endeavors it was poorly thought out,

 

pricey, uselessly beautiful. We watched on our phones

or didn’t. Someone did her laundry illegally

 

in the bathroom sink. India beat South Africa in

a cricket match. And everywhere gravity failed.