Butch captained the team
‘cause he could spit through
his teeth, a handy prerequisite
for guys headed to the major leagues.

The smallest kid on our team, Butch
could lay down bunts right and left,
scoop spirited grounders at short,
shag high-fly balls anywhere on the field.

At bat he’d slam sizzling liners over second.
He could pitch bloopers slow and sassy,
dupe batters with his dipsy-doodle ball.
The kid played with the panache of a pro.

Once Butch tried to teach me to bunt.
Slow to finesse those batting skills,
I blackened the nails on two fingers.
Butch never asked me to bunt again.

And if his mother came to the fence
To call him home for dinner, singing out
“Ohh, Hennnry!” Someone always asked,
“Who’s Henry?”