Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, March 19, 2015


by Robert E. Petras

It was about the time the Pledge and
Catechism turned into a glissando of
Sound, colors, that after school during the
Greening of my backyard, I
Would take my baseball mitt, the new
 Leather smelling as brisk as
Aftershave, but as intractable as
A cowlick, like the one
 I kept trying to flatten with
 Brylcreem, wax, even butter, and
Even butter wax and Brylcreem I
Applied generously to make a soft
 Pocket to snag baseballs one-
 Handed.  I’d ride over my mitt with
My bicycle, back and forth, forth and
Back.  I was going to soften it break it
In one way or another.  Another
Was to pound a hardball in the
Pocket, machine-gunning a two-
Foot speed ball, stinging my
Hand, the cowhide, eventually, finally, surrendering,
Father and I stood across the lawn
From each other like gunfighters
Armed with baseballs and mitts.
Father had just mowed the cow- licked lawn,
The scent of new grass overwhelming new leather.
Father threw first and I snagged the ball
Right in that Brylcreem-wax-butter-softened pocket.
“Use two hands,” Father said.  “Use two hands.”

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