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Keeping Wicket

When they were young,
She kept wicket for her brothers,
They batted,
Padded up
And ratcheted up the score.
She crouched behind the stumps
Keeping wicket.

She would have loved to bowl,
Just once to flick her wrist and watch the ball
Fly from her fingers, arcing through the air,
To hear the thwack of 
Rubber on bamboo.
To not worry that the batsman might miss,
Or worse get an edge.

She would have liked to bat,
To feel the jerk of willow in her hands
And watch the leather careering
Towards the boundary,
But she was too valuable a player,
To put in to bat.

She had the best job, they said.
The wicket-keeper held the destiny of the team
In those thin gloves.
The wicket-keeper was the team's protector

So she crouched behind the stumps
Keeping wicket.
And when their mother developed
Into childhood,
Their diabetic father became an amputee,
They gave her the best job once again,
Her brothers were all busy at the crease,
So she crouched behind the stumps,
Keeping wicket.

She contemplated trying another game,
Was attracted to another life,
But though cricket is a man's game,
No man it seems wants a wicket-keeper for a wife.

And when her parents passed,
She still played the game,
This time with nieces and nephews at the crease
She had the best job once again,
Standing behind the stumps,
Keeping wicket.

From Give the Ball to the Poet: A New Anthology of Caribbean Poetry




Valerie Bloom - Keeping Wicket

Valerie Bloom - Keeping Wicket