Blind Strike

{April 13, 2008}   Shock Absorbtion

 for Jason


It wasn’t long ago, less than a year

that I slipped on this batting glove

twice a week all summer, the same grubby

glove that sits before me now

was then new, bought to reduce

the shock of rough vibration when my aim

was off, which was most times,


but Jason kept on pitching me,

made fun of my blinding

Alaska-Irish legs; he stepped up

every game, even when the strike zone eluded

and when he smiled, the whole team laughed,

and when he got down, I felt the drag from first

and punched my glove thinking, Shake it off

buddy, shake it off


Jason, I remember the day

you showed up with a new bat for the team

We named it Ex-Caliber; it shone white

in the sun and I fawned over it to let you know

how nice it was: none had money to spare, on this team

composed of writers, waiters, and bartenders


I don’t remember if you wore

batting gloves that Saturday morning

we hard-core bar leaguers were out

once again to shag a few balls and

shake off our Friday-night sins,

when you took Ex-Caliber

in hand and swung,

felt the barrel plastic give

instead of bounce


I don’t know if you felt the sting,

but I remember that forlorn look on your face

trying to tough it

as you ran a finger along the crack;

it is the same look I wear now when I remember

the Chugach Mountains yawning around our little diamond

and think of your charming smile,

which I will never see again


Signe. says:

Our first softball meeting is Sunday. We’re sponsored by the Blue Fox this year, and Brad ordered us hats that say “JW.” God, it’s going to be weird without him.

Also: the image of the mountains yawning is so beautiful…perfect.

orion2007 says:

I like this poem especially the analogy b/w the crack on the baseball bat and the look of the writer. Its beautiful. Well written indeed.

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