It's national poetry month. I'm more of a prose writer than a poet, but on can't let National Poetry Month pass without at least one stab at verse.
The inspiration for this poem was Tim Wakefield's retirement, leaving the Mets' Robert Alan Dickey as major league baseball's only remaining knuckleballer. I started imagining Tim watching on TV as the last knuckler pitched his last game, saddened that the lore isn't being past on. I find this image a bit more compelling. It allows for some more imagery (although the knuckleballer's typical square-cut fingernails are gripping a TV remote was a nice mental picture which I'm sorry to let go) and some more action.
So, happy National Poetry Month.
The Last Knuckleballer
Under the shadow of Mount Fuji
The last knuckleballer stands
his fingers tense, his nails square-cut
He throws straight and true,
not dancing, darting, diving.
His limbs heavy with the weight of years
his joints well-worn,
he's been on his way down the mountain for years.
He grasps again. Deep breaths.
The ball still too smooth
still too small.
Did the next throw dance? One little side-step?
Tomorrow he'll go back to the ballpark
back to his search for someone.
Someone desperate enough
to cut his fingernails square
in hopes that he can cross an ocean
and make a too-big cowhide ball dance.