How many mornings has she pulled
on her windbreaker, wriggled into
the little socks, cotton balls dancey
at the heels of her golf shoes, stiff
from the shoe trees she stretched them on,
warm, last time she played. Resolved
then to practice, drive, chip, putt,
sharpen her game to a point
other players couldn't catch her,
ever, and she hasn't. Now
younger women are already on the tee,
stretching, doing yoga, have trainers,
play Pebble Beach, Burning Tree,
days they let females on the course,
have husbands blond as they are, rich,
no trace of the she-man, these girls.
She had wondered one more time
whether it would warm up, April, almost
Good Friday, planting time, farm girl
now MD grass-roots widow. She'd learned golf
as her husband learned nurses, a compromise, self
defense. You can still like, she'd thought, then,
even love, without subscribing to the whole game,
the five inches between the ears. Besides,
what could she do, divorced, no matter
the alimony? Type? Teach? Men wound up
with the money, women with Caesarian section
scars. She'd played the course, had silver
(plated) trophy cups, trays—dates, scores, clubs.
"You can always take something off," Patty Berg,
pro, had told her about being warm, sweaters,
Patty, square as tall, what a swing.
Men she knew, had known, died, playing.
Foursomes, like life matings. Her husband—ex—
had had a heart attack, slight, on seventeen,
"Oh, play it on in," said his three, ambulance
waiting at the clubhouse. A drink. She'd seen one
of the girls, a pretty woman, cheat, a ball up
her cashmere sweater cuff, wandering
around the rough, looking, only to drop it
close to the pin. "Oh, here it is!"
"A good walk spoiled," Mark Twain. Hazards,
traps, deliberate obfuscations, water, poison
ivy. Golf like life, books try to say. Only life isn't
green, she thinks, you don't stand on a hill, see where
you're going, no one lets you play through, keeps
the grass down or fishes for failures in the lake.
Nobody yells, "Fore," before something round
and dimpled, aimed with the force of a meteor, strikes.
Mr. Flythe was a finalist in our 2007 War Poetry Contest and received an Honorable Mention in our 2010 War Poetry Contest. He has kindly provided us with this YouTube HD video of himself reading "State Champ":