–  For Laura

At five or six, my first
 daughter picked up a stick
and swung it like a batter
waiting on deck. Amused,
I took a stone and tossed it
in her direction. “Hit it,”
I said, and hit it she did
 a clean, swift stroke sent it
whizzing past my ear. Dumb luck
I thought, but tried it again, and
again she laid the wood on it,
knocking it to the street.
I smiled. She smiled.
I gathered more stones.

Soon it was clear she had
superb coordination
between hand and eye. And I,
the strikeout king of
North Shore 
Little League,
was dreaming her
into a softball scholarship
to college. I bought her
a Whiffle ball and bat
and for a couple years
she humored me, but
at seven or eight she dropped
the bat and never picked it up again.

Instead, she took up
a thick 
child’s pencil,
not much thinner
than that first stick, and began
to hit line drives to center field,
metaphorically speaking,
her dialogue crisp as
a Hank Aaron single,
her characters colorful
as Casey Stengel,
her imagination soaring
like the moon over Fenway Park.