|A Preferred Lie
These yards of water and grass
still connect me; it was you, father,
who taught me how to play the game.
Being here with you so many times,
and again alone, last summer, dewy
mornings broken by cleated shoes;
no matter how years end,
your game remained a closed stance—
a gentle draw off the tee.
Aside the green was a hand pump,
long since removed, water taken
from the Chippewa River, clear
and cold, and seamless; it was always
the water, left of the green, in front
of the green, the swell and flow
of the river, that held us together.
I don’t brood much about score,
with all its work and walk,
golf is the only game; returning
to the fourth tee box after your death
is like a love stroke of cold grace;
among the call of wood doves,
I’m a man-child waiting by the water,
knowing it’s only a slow turn away
from your different kind of life.