Now I see what you want.

Not my best,

not the high hard one,

rocketing in on the crux of the plate,

bat cocked, your eyes narrowed,

strength against strength,

heart against heart,

the two of us consumed by

the concussive bark

as ball meets bat.

No, you need the slider,

the knuckle ball, the split-fingered curve,

something phantasmal, hopped-up,

or off-speed, absurd - the one

that emerges from the sun's glare,

out and away, but somehow

swoops back and brushes the lip of the plate.

Or the one that, at first glance, smacks of home run,

the farm-fat meatball sucker pitch

which, in the end, crosses the crucial

two feet wide and ankle high.

You're not after the mighty hit

or even the valiant whiff.

All you want is

a generous slice of the marvelous.

You want the sort of pitch

that crosses the plate

over and over all winter,

that replays itself nightly in your dreams,

each time from a different angle,

your smoke-bat or thunder-stick

leaving vapor trails

in and around and through

its passing. You're at home

in that nether world between

fact hard as hickory

and possibility's sweet blur.

For you, the beauty of the at-bat lies

not in what you've done and seen

but what, again and again,

in a thousand spring guises,

you might have been.

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