The second son, having made the school baseball team, Informs his startled father that they are underequipped In the matter of bats—sticks, hammers, the implements Of destruction, the tools of the trade, the thunder lumber, As the salesman says cheerfully. There is a dense forest Of bats against the wall, gleaming graphite and brilliant Maple, aluminum in every conceivable shade and sheen, And the father gets absorbed in the names, the Torpedos And Thunderclubs, Phantoms and Cyclones, the Patriots And Nitros, Magnums and Maxxums, Rayzrs and Ultras, And, rivetingly, the Freak, which comes in thirteen sizes, Which makes you wonder. The father, a terrible baseball Player as a boy, admires but does not say anything about The extraordinary lean loveliness of the ash bats hanging Lonely at the far end. The boy chooses a bright red metal Hammer, takes a few swings, waggles it a bit, hoists it up On his shoulder, says this'll do, and the sacramental hour Passes, as all holy moments must. But they do happen, as Fast and terrifying as a baseball fired right at your noggin. The batter's job, the second son says, is to identify a pitch As soon as it leaves a pitcher's hand. Seeing is everything, He says, and for once we are in complete and utter accord
Brian Doyle is editor of Portland magazine at the University of Portland. He is the author of Leaping: Revelations and Epiphanies, A Shimmer of Something: Lean Stories of Spiritual Substance, and, most recently, Martin Marten, a novel.