Ginger’s pitching. She tore off
legs of her favorite jeans
because of the heat.

First base is the apple tree,
second is a boat cushion,
third is the neighbor’s fence.
Home base is the Frisbee

by the front steps. Dawn is crouched
to catch. (With six girls in their family,
putting a team together is a cinch.)

My brother, Warren, is outfield.
He’s popping his fist into dad’s old glove.
Out by the blackberries, Jim Deal cat-calls
with a smear of purple by his mouth.

The pitch, low and outside, goes
into the shrubs by the front of the house.
Everything will be great –
unless we hit a window.
(Mr. Whitney was a Marine drill sergeant.)

The next pitch is fine –
foul ball rockets into a pine,
a shower of needles follows the thunk.
Here comes Amber
shaking needles from her hair,
but she raises her glove triumphant –
Tough Luck.

We’re down by one,
two players are on base,
and we’re losing light.
My team begins to talk it up.
The other team jeers as I come to bat.
Can’t run fast, but I can hit.

The pitch comes, and then,
the crack of the wood bat.
The ball sails right onto 144th Street
and rolls downhill into the gutter.

It’s a safe bet, Zorries on or off,
my speed will not lose the game.
Sunday afternoon they’ll be cranking
home-made ice cream for our team.