Henry Cotto Gets Real

Today, when I woke up, I felt a heavy crust over my eyes. But the crust was not a physical crust; it was, as the French say, crasse-de-la-vie, that which accumulates on our minds as we move through life, unaware. I lie in bed for a long time with this so-called crust on my eyes. I feel it weigh my eyes to the back of my skull. I spread my fingers out over the sheets. There is no reason to wipe my eyes — there is nothing actually there. There is no reason.

“I look in the mirror and think, ‘What is this thing?'”

I am playing baseball in the sun. I feel the crusted sweet of grapefruit in my moustache as it drapes over my lip. I have not eaten grapefruit today. I have not eaten since yesterday.

This cap: too snug. My thighs feel the roughness of my uniform pants. I feel the openness of the park around me; it is a lonely feeling. My mouth gapes a bit. I cannot close it. The sun feels like a hot dust on my cheeks.

They want I should run after fly balls now. I leave my glove in the dugout, for my hands are like leather. They are like so much dead meat at the ends of my arms. I wave them at whatever moves near me. It is never enough. My mouth continues to gape, I know, but I cannot stop it. My hair is a constant helmet — it prevents me from feeling more the world around me, from feeling the wind through the mesh of my cap. Tonight, after swatting with the bat, running for hits, winning or losing, I will return home and scrape my hair off. I will scrape this moustache off. The crust I will scrub with meditation, with slow silent movements. I will wake up with clarity.

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