Light dangling from the peaked wooden roof illuminates
shuffling feet meeting the stretched out bristles
of the mat – Welcome, welcome.
Timeworn but sturdy, frayed only around its edges,
at the foot of this house,
next to pink ceramic frog with glass eyes.
It greets all who enter,
Not-so-little John, returning from college,
his new girl, Sarah with the lime streaks in her hair.
Their steps march right past, never giving a glance to
thin blue letters curling across musty gray
background proclaiming “ALL ARE WELCOME”.
Dark stains smudge the bottom of the “M” and “E” from presents
left by Archibald the cat,
a different kind of welcome.
Cars pull up, crackling on scattered stones.
The door swishes open and greetings called,
warmth spilling into the dark night.
The many feet are gathered
inside, leaving behind the first reception.
Already they have forgotten. The mat
stays outside, at the ready, always on duty.
When can it follow
the steps inside?
All are welcome, all but one.