Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Hail Mary

by Al Ortolani

The sycamore is bone
white in winter, the few
straggling leaves like bats,
wings curled, hanging
loosely against the mottled sky.
The jay in the oak
complains of the gray squirrel,
bending limbs, leaping
like a ghost
to connect the branches.
The blue sky is brief. It separates
the clouds—a flotilla
scudding west. The sun
falls between the shadows
of the house. The sycamore
stretches across the walk—
one boney finger to the door,
one hand open to turn the knob.
We are home, plates in the sink,
the television flickering football.
My uncles are a reflection in the end zone,
the family face, the muscle,
the bone, the game clock
ticking through another Thanksgiving.
Johnny Unitas in black high tops
drops into the pocket
to heave a last-ditch prayer
into the lights.

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