Pitching Coups


Ron Welburn

The arc of the pitching arm
unwinds a circle of dreams
and corkscrews out behind a kick
to release a flying head,
in whose face coming towards
the men with bats
is a leer and a laugh.
The stitches of the sphere blur
into war paint and the head's
ecstatic yell echoes
throughout this canyon of battle.
It flies as straight as an arrow or
whirls like a tomahawk;
sometimes it just jumps off a ledge
the way lovers are said to do
in secret ravines all over the country.
It always comes ready to count coup
and tease and intimidate.
The pitching arm belongs to coyote
and so does the flying head.
The arm belongs to Chief Bender
from yesterday, then Allie Reynolds,
and the next time to Cal McLish,
and now to John Henry Johnson and
Fernando, the Valenzuela.
Pitchers all.
Coyotes too.

© 1990 Ron Welburn. From Council Decisions, Native American Chapbook Series, American Native Press Archives, University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

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