Today's poem is by Jim Simmerman

The Sacrifice

And Abraham stretched forth his hand,
and took the knife to slay his son.

                               —Genesis 22:10

I liked the kid but the voice
ricocheting round in my head
like a hard foul ball in a

batting cage said, "Damn it
all, Abe, what's the matter
with you? Don't you want to

be called to the big leagues
some day? Maybe pinch hit
for the Angels? Who knows,

maybe even start with the Padres?
Say, you could be another Jesus
Alou if you'd just learn to con-

centrate: eye on ball and all
that jazz—get it?—and clean
the cowflop out of your ears,

OK?! When I say step up and take
a cut you'd best let me see you
swinging away. You're blessed,

hell yes, with a stroke that's clean
as a cherub's butt, but you've
got to get the lead out—move it!

I mean—if you want to be safe.
The main thing is, don't think
so much: that's management stuff

and you're paid to play. So
knock off the backtalk and mind
games, Einstein, and get your head

back into the game. You need
to learn to read the signs.
Look: this means pull it;

this means take; and this
means lay it on the line,
means sacrifice for God's sake!"

Copyright © 2002 Jim Simmerman All rights reserved
from New Letters Baseball issue
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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