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by April Halprin Wayland

Freshman Dodger John Ely is pitching his 2nd game ever in the majors
sending those balls skidding past every one of the Brewers,
making them spin like tops,
no one gets on—
what a great dance.

I was at the first game Dodger great Don Sutton
pitched for them, April 14, 1966.
I finger that small slice of history in my pocket
and sometimes bring it out,
turn it over,
smell those Dodger dogs still.

“Call us after 8 pm” they told us, “to see if
this dog has been taken or is still available.”
So in the middle of the game at 8:01, I dial
the Carson Animal Shelter,
Ely pitches another 1-2-3-and-they’re-out inning,
the crowd roars, and I can barely hear

“What? He IS?”

Colors vibrate all around:
the grass field is as green as Oz,
black sky, hot lights, red dirt,
our team’s white uniforms,
fans in Dodger Blue.

We leave before the game ends,
beating the traffic in the glint of night,
stars in the sky, we know we’re winning,
keeping those Brewskis at bay.

9pm, breezing down the 110 freeway,
we listen to the radio as the crowd gives young John Ely
a standing ovation;
then we toss out balls of our own:
or maybe just Dog.

We drive away from this small slice of history
and maybe…
maybe we’ll go to the shelter tomorrow morning at nine a.m. sharp
and maybe we’ll get that lanky, licky, sweet-eyed teen-aged dog
and maybe
just maybe
we’ll name him Ely.

Poetry Prompt: This is our dog’s adoption story.  We changed the spelling of his name, but this is why he’s named Eli.

It’s your turn. Whose birth story do you want to tell in a poem?  Do.

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