Some weeks back
I bumped into Bill Lee
the Spaceman.
I was stuck at the garage
locked out of the driver’s side
He was filling up silver haired
hard to miss in his old timer’s uniform
and brown dress shoes

not that bent down man
in a trip-to-Cuba film I’d seen on PBS.

I went out to give him a thumbs up
(I’m lucky I don’t live in L.A.
– I’d be acting oddly all the time)

too late he’d climbed back
into his Nissan Pathfinder
and sped away.
Big as life – then not there
Lee’s eephus pitch one last time?
Though I can’t explain it
almost meeting him
almost having a story to tell
makes me as happy as I was as a boy
when my father first threw
the slow arcing pitch to me
telling me the story of
Rip Sewell and the Splendid Splinter

happy as Bill Lee must have been decades later
throwing the same moon ball to Tony Perez
three consecutive at-bats defying logic
and his Red Sox handlers to enter
one way or the other the permanent lore.