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"Snapdragons" by Grant Young


are killer curveballs

a violent wrist twist to reap a white

terror, red stitching slicing sky,

bending air, bursting ash

a hissing arc seeking ready leather

but also a flower—puffed

pastel petals erupting

upward, a plant best

placed at property’s edge

both share the same season

blooming by spring and

wilted by winter, perfect when

partnered with sunshine

in baseball they’re best when

sown with restraint, for

excessive snapdragons will

impel elbow’s ulnar to

tear into two

producing a “pop!

an internal turmoil

like a stem being

ripped from its roots

and the petrified pitcher

will visit a surgeon

and soon see a smiling

scar on their arm

though such forecasts are scarce

and must not prompt pitchers

to stop snapping

off their best breakers

since the sharpest snapdragons

are invasive to hitters,

bats planted on

shoulders means strikeouts

but a hanging snapdragon

blowing free in the breeze

is sure to be sent into


Grant Young (he/his) spent five years throwing snapdragons at the University of San Francisco—and has a smiling scar on his arm to show for it. He is the founding editor of Clinch, a literary magazine for the martial arts. His work has been published by HAD, The Twin Bill, Idle Ink, and elsewhere.

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