Fast Ball


The grass raw and electric
as the cat's whiskers.

3 and 2.

At second the runner loiters,
nervous as the corner junkie
edgy for a connection.

Hunched like a cat, the batter:
his prehensile bat
he curls and uncurls.

The pitcher hitches & hitches.

At last the hitcher pitches.

"It gets about the size," Ty Cobb said,
"of a watermelon seed.
It hisses as it passes."

The outfielders tumble like kittens
back to the benches.
Baseballs a game of light-speeds.
And inches.


Fred Chappell, Spring Garden: New and Selected Poems, Louisiana State University Press, 1995.