When the ump produces
his little hand broom
and stops all play to stoop
and dust off home plate,
my daughter sitting beside me
looks up and gives me a smile that says
this is by far her favorite part of baseball.

And then when he skillfully
spits without getting any
on the catcher or the batter or himself,
she looks up again and smiles
even bigger.

But when someone hits a long foul ball
and everyone’s eyes are on it
as it sails out of play…
the ump has dipped his hand
into his bottomless black pocket
and conjured up a shiny new white one
like a brand new coin
from behind the catcher’s ear,
which he then gives to the catcher
who seems to contain his surprise
though behind his mask his eyes are surely
as wide with wonder as hers.