My father lay in bed and watched TV,
the Yankees games, although sometimes his eyes
closed, which he explained once was how he’d learned
to follow the team, on radio in Bridgeport,
and the play-by-play was as vivid for him as the small
figures on the screen. He was depressed
and now I get it--how the narrow focus
on what the pitcher will do and how the batter
will try to respond to what he deals from the mound
is soothing, blocking out the world’s disappointments.
He’d doze off for a while: the games kept going,
but these were from ’23 when he was the kid
for whom it mattered how Babe Ruth would do,
or Wally Pipp on first base who, that year,
hit .304, or Lou Gehrig, a rookie
who played only thirteen games. The team went on
to the Series to beat the Giants. (My father ran
to tell his father the news and the old man asked,
“Good for the Yidn?” shaking his head.) It was
maybe the last good thing, the last good time
my father could remember, a place to float off to
at the end of his life that was loving and safe, and his team,
he knew in his bones, was going to win it all.