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Summer/Fall 2019

Linwood

 

by Barry Peters

 

Linwood still pines, at sixty-six,

to recreate that moment thirty years ago

on barren, windswept Carolina links,

 

a 200-yard four-iron that synchronized

feet, legs, hips, that squeezed butt cheeks,

rotated shoulders, snapped wrists,

 

his palms on the grip like hammered fists,

head still as a decapitated bust,

and stiller still his mind, silent and empty,

 

no thought about how to move his body,

no prayer that his shot reaches the green,

Linwood one piece of unified motion,

 

the only way he could create the click

of metal on ball like the snap of a finger,

the only way he could watch, objectively,

 

the ball rise like an arrow from a bow,

rise higher as if dropping a booster rocket,

an afternoon moon pinned against the sky,

 

the club flourished in follow-through,

wanded magically overhead, posed

as if he were the subject and not the artist.

 

Does it matter that Linwood now plays alone,

walking rather than riding partly because

he can’t afford the cart but mostly because

 

he wants to feel his feet on the ground

of this barely solvent public goat-path

patched with dirt and weed and clover?

 

You can see the basketball player in him,

the improvisational energy as he loose-

limbs up a hill, bag slung over his shoulder,

 

the pain in his right knee reminding

him of that spring day in high school

on the park courts when he couldn’t miss,

 

the same feeling he had when he met Donetta--

those days, weeks, months of first love, Donetta

and he creating life and lives together, Donetta

 

decades later telling him, Don’t worry about me,

Linwood, you worked hard for forty years,

you treat yourself, you go play golf,

 

for what is an old man to do walking alone

on random land miraculously far into a new century--

what is an old man to do but empty his mind

 

of what’s past and what’s bound to come,

find his ball, pick a stick, and try to create

in this moment, another moment, one last time?

 

 

[Check out Barry Peters's back porch advice]