When the Curve Changed Baseball

by David Handsher

In the summer of fire,
when wool flannel jerseys made

motion hang and the heat
kept fans from the bleachers,

there was the skew, the hook,
the bender, the curve that Lefty threw.

Some say: it was merely
the illusion of change,

we see the future spin
when directness is expected,

or that gravity plays a part —
a rock skipping, then into the ocean.

The Japanese maple drops
its yellow leaves in circles

on the car parked beneath
and on the paved street.

The season proceeds pitch by pitch.
The prognosis is unclear.

But inspiration is a dream
that shakes the hand and moves

the legs. It causes us to reach
across to spin the ball.

The crowd is restless
in their seats. The count

is even. The bases full.
The curve ball is on its way.