NaPoWriMo 19

Relief Pitcher

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.


chiefbiscuit said…
Not nearly enough poems are written about the beauty of sport. I hope the player mentioned gets to read this lovely, strong poem one day.
January said…
Thanks CB. That's my first sports poem, which is surprising given my love of baseball and basketball.
murat11 said…
nicely done, poet mom. "you have jock straps older than him" is wonderful, and love "the last of your sunflower shells spiral..."

best wishes to you from Texas. I used to live on the cambridge side and loved nighttime views of that skyline.
Anonymous said…
Hey there

I love this. Consider sending it to SlowTrains magazine. They're an online mag that publishes baseball writing as well as fiction and poetry. Scroll down on their front page for the "On Baseball" section.
christine said…
Wow, January, I'm impressed with your knowledge of baseball and sports lingo. The lines roll off the tongue. I hear the narrator's chagrin at not being as well known as the golden boy.

I think you have a few more of these in you. I love basketball. I'd love to read some poems about that sport.
So, I'm placing a request. :)
January said…
When the Celts go to the finals, I'll definitely write a basketball poem.

Thanks Christine.
January said…
Erin, thanks for the suggestions. I'll check out Slow Trains.

Murat, you may miss the Boston/Cambridge area, but I'm envious of the warm weather in TX. OK, maybe not in July, but most months. Thanks for stopping by.
Alex said…
Your first poem about baseball! I wait for one about tennis...

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