Vol. 3, No. 1: Rainbow Curve photo

Son of Benchwarmer’s First Teeball SeasonDanny Caine



He clings to his mom like spin on a curveball.

We try to coax him into the team’s huddle. Then,

shove. The coach says “welcome to the team,”

followed by an ellipsis and a question mark.

I don’t know if I’m supposed to say his name

for him. I must support his emotional needs

and discourage him from being too clingy

at the same time. Like swinging enough

to make good contact but not enough

to strike out. I never figured that out either. 

There’s no coach munching sunflower seeds

in the dugout of the game of parenting.

They never teach you this stuff. “Who is they?”

you might say? Good fucking question! “Jack,”

I answer. “Okay,” the coach says. “Let’s run

the bases.” The team erupts into a limbs

and dirt. When the cloud settles to the infield,

there stands my son, feet planted, tears

carving paths into the dust on his cheeks.




When it’s his turn during intros,

he says his favorite food is silence.

We sneak away from the huddle,

first me, then her, towards the benches

where all of the other parents sit.

The team splits into throwing

and hitting. He slumps and drags

his feet through the dirt but he

does not run back to us.  We all watch

our sons and a few daughters.

Sports Dad leaps up to help the coach.

The dirt refuses to stick to him.




there is dirt on my boots

there is dirt on his brand new hat

there is dirt on his mitt

there is dirt in my hair

there is dirt on my coat

there is dirt on the lawn chairs I dug out from the garage

that may be old dirt

there is dirt on the ground, of course

there is dirt on the infield

there is dirt on the outfield

it looks like grass but if you stomp: dirt

there is dirt on my son’s hands

which he throws wide

because he made a catch




The Prodigy

Dirt Kid

The Spinner


Nut Allergy

Runs To Third First

Extra Confused

The Runner


Son Of Jock

Swings So Hard She Spins Around Twice

Sits and Ruins Pants

Little Miss Grass and Dandelions




It shouldn’t surprise me, I was the same way.

So many Boy Scout campouts punctuated

with my tears. I remember screaming

after trying to go to bed early, when my troop

shook my tent and sang Kumbaya. I was forever

stuck in right field, plucking grass and fearing

flies and fly balls. When coaches told me good eye

they were lying. Here’s what else they don’t tell you

before you have kids: you will have to bat

against all of the difficult parts of your childhood,

and that guy can throw a mean curve. And not just once,

either: from May to mid-July, every Thursday night plus

twice a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Saturdays.




at the first game I’m fighting the urge

to hover. I want to wave, I want to

check on him, I want to ask him

what he’s talking about with the other

shortstop as they just stand there

because Coach Casey is playing them

so deep for some reason, which I want

to ask him about. I want to tell

the two third basemen to stand up.

I want to stand and scream when he bats

and hits a leadoff single, never mind that

everyone hits a single. Instead I act like

I’m connected to the folding chair via

an invisible harness, forcing myself

to relax as the fine mist of dust

swallows me whole, coats my teeth.