Just for us

baseball

He watched the oak tree’s shadow stretch until
it crossed the yard from fence to porch and felt
the heat of August’s sun begin to fade.
The evening breeze could not move the grass the way
it did in spring, before the supple green
turned brittle gold. “The grass—” he said to her.

“I know,” she said. “It really needs some rain.”

“Not that.” He smiled. “It makes me think of Dad.
He’d toss the baseball—popups, grounders—and grass
like this made grounders jump right past my mitt.”
He paused, then quickly stood and said, “The game
is on! I’ll get the radio.” He stepped inside,
then out again. “You want a beer, Sweet Pea?”

She smiled at him the way that made him blush.
“A Guinness would be nice. You need some help?”

“I got it, Hon.”

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxShe watched two clouds combine
as one, delighted at the easy bond.

He handed her a mug of stout. The head
of froth atop the dark and creamy ale
evoked a hearty thirst they’d shared for years.
He turned the knob to move the dial and find
the game, then took his seat, with mug in hand.

She reached to gently touch his arm and said,
“I love that sound, don’t you? The call of balls
and strikes, the hits and runs, and who’s on deck.”

“I do. It takes me back. On summer nights,
I’d sit with Dad to watch the stars and hear
the Tigers play. I’d crawl up on his lap
and lay my head against his chest. Before
the final out I’d fall asleep, and Dad
would cradle me in arms that never seemed
to tire.”

xxxxxxxxxHer fingers traced a vein along
along his arm until they reached his hand,
then weaved to form a loving knot with his.
“I love to fall asleep against your chest
and feel your arm around me, thick and strong.”

He raised her hand to press his lips against
her skin, then brushed his cheek along her wrist.
“You would have loved my dad.”

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx“I love his son,
so I imagine you are right.”  She sighed.
“You think–?”  She paused.  “You think he’d love me, too?”

He looked into the sky and found the first
emerging star, then said, “I know he does.”