PITCHER’S PITCHER *

– in memory of Everett Kimball

Consummate skill
demands confidence and not swagger,
daring and not braggadocio,

which you epitomize and embody
in the press photos of you on the mound,
or even in the ones wearing your Bates

letter sweater, or during the summers
you spent possibly thinking about strikeouts
while working the potato harvests

along the coast of Maine. It is rumored
that you batted over four hundred
throughout an entire season,

one in which the only statistics mattering
are the ones you endowed in the legacy
to your daughter, which are more

accurately recorded in her heart
than in her mind. Although what you
bequeathed to her still surfaces within her

despite the forgetfulness of memory loss,
and what remains is not just a pitcher’s
pitcher, a knuckleballer, whose forkballs

fluttered like moths on twilit summer
evenings, or rode the swells in the swirling
winds of a dusty ballpark afternoon,

but what alights within her when she recalls
you in superlatives, whose strength
she inherited, and whose stamina still

gives her courage, is your form, a sound
disposition, one which could never be called
having no substance, but a manifestation

of character, as when she visits your grave
she always leaves a quarter on your tombstone,
telling me that it is always

mysteriously gone when she next returns,
not unlike the parabolic arc
of one of your knuckleballs that drift and float,

that seem to dance, seeming to nearly disappear,
the ball rising up, sideways, then down,
before the batter’s swing cuts nothing but air.