Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ballpark Figures

Pitcher:

He or she has just discovered the North Pole
and, behind the back, holds a snowball,
glowering down at the world.

Catcher:

The amalgam.
Body, a badger's.
Face, a prisoner's.
Legs, a knight's.
One arm, a deaf person's.
The other arm, a crab's.

Umpire:

An angry parent
yelling at the kids,
who just want to play.

Outfielders:

Three deer graze in a meadow.
A shot rings out.
They raise their heads.
They're on the move.

First Base:

A hometown kid.
Rarely leaves the house
but entertains a lot.

Dugout:

A rookery.
One bird leaves.
The others rearrange themselves.

Crowd:

Wildflowers on a terraced slope.
Blotches of paint.
A chorus of bees.

Third Base:

This one guards a thin white line.
An accountant.
Foul or fair. Profit or loss.

Second Base:

The bull charges.
The bullfighter whirls and leaps.

Shortstop: 

Holds dual citizenship.
Travels a lot.
Rents, doesn't own.
Not a joiner.

Vendor:

An evangelist.

Base Coaches:

Performance artists,
gossips, and hired applauders.

Pitching Coach:

A lachrymose intermediary.

Managers:

When they arise from the basement,
it means trouble has come.
Adults forced to wear children's clothes.


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