Father Thomas led the baseball team –
squad, maybe, could be a patch –
with one baseball, one bat, one glove.
We prayed before every game:
my silent whisper, eyes upended,
“don’t let any pop flies near me.”
Our Father, who art in the field,
hallowed be the screams and yells
as we run into one another
on the way to second base.
Bloody noses, silly excuses,
we found our best games always ended with prayer, too:
“don’t let mom see my skinned knees.”
One game, against Dekoven,
a lanky and deep team,
we were winning,
with one baseball, one bat, one glove,
pop flies be damned!
I raced around that diamond with hell-at-my-heels,
Father Thomas crying out,
“Lorda mercy!”
as I rounded third,
slid home.
No choking this time,
and we woulda won,
if Jack hadn’t hit a groundball far left field,
a groundball eaten by a groundhog hole.
Game over.