"NAILS" Back

Lenny Dykstra sinks into a deep crouch,

his strike zone no taller than a railroad spike –

jaw set, a chaw in his cheek, blond curly hair

jutting from beneath a Phillies cap.

A slider high and outside –

the lefty hammers it foul,

steps out of the box to curse himself,

spits, whips the air with a practice cut

and digs back in between the chalk lines,

muscled forearms taut and eyes

daring the pitcher to throw a strike.

A low fastball – a compact swing –


a liner into the right field stands.

He circles the bases with choppy steps,

nodding, hands fisted, chin forward.

A player in the other dugout mutters,

"Look at that son of a bitch –

I wish we had him."