When I was a kid my baseball team was the St. Louis Cardinals
It was my father’s team even though we lived in New York
so it was my team too
Stan Musial
Red Schoendienst
Enos Slaughter

My father took me to the Polo Grounds to see the Giants and the Cardinals play
We walked through a cafeteria that went from one street to the next
I got an autograph on my scorecard

My father told the Monsignor at St. Thomas church that the Monsignor
could become a Cardinal – if he could pitch
My father was a Protestant

Last week a raccoon got on my porch and ate one of my parakeets
The other parakeet is alone now but still chirps happy songs
Then a Cardinal built a nest in the forsythia bush
next to the porch a few inches from the screen
I think she was attracted to my lone parakeet’s singing
free and hopping in and out of the cage

The Cardinal eyes me from her nervous nest when I go out
I think of her as a replacement for my parakeet
a tawny outdoor bird
in her grey and red baseball uniform
I am nervous too, waiting for the eggs to hatch.