You’re exorcizing a demon on the mound,
making the fastball whirl and dip
before a sold-out crowd. No relief
for the reliever, called in like a surgeon
to stop the bleeding. You set ‘em up
for the closer—the team’s golden boy,
the flamethrower strutting out of the bullpen
while his theme song, “Enter Sandman”
announces his arrival. You have jock straps
older than him, yet crowds have to
check their scorecards when you appear.
Four teams in five years makes you a journeyman
as you search for your fastball once clocked at 98 mph.
Sometimes it climbs to 89 but you can still
keep the team from getting a shellacking
any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
The last of your sunflower shells spiral in the wind
like your high heater sculpting the plate
on a cold April night and there you are,
fingering the seams, hands covered in resin.
Tonight you’re lights out. All you need
is your catcher’s signals to throw down the middle.
Watch the batter come up empty one more time.