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I am walking in my father's fairway footsteps,
Trying unsuccessfully to match
My young impatient rhythm to his.
He lingers, I fidget.
He mutters, I moan.
But when he swings his driver,
I am awe-struck.
The swing is an unburdening arc
Tracing out the only sustained smile
In his disappointing week.
My father sold things;
As my mother was often to say.
He said very little at all.
In a dream after he dies
He stops beside his ball
And draws a club from his bag.
Raising it high, he and the club are one.
The scene changes — I run to stay close.
He drags his clubs along the final fairway
With the look of a man perpetually drowning;
He turns to me when we reach the green
And opens the top buttons of his chemise Lacoste
And I see it,
An arrow of light thrust into his neck,
colliding, scattering in the beam
float indistinct slips of memory.
And the wind comes up in the trees which surround us,
Whispering, "Ask him,"
But it is too late,
The fragments are blown away
And the only answer to the unspoken question
Is the waking sun.
I am walking beside my wife on the course,
Steps once again asynchronous
With the yearning impatience of her beginner's practice.
A teapot of projects about to whistle,
She has put them aside to take this walk with me
But I am a distant observer
Analyzing her flawed grip
With the precision of a quantum mechanic
And then she swings.
I am struck
Out of time.
In that arrested space between the moments
I see her wound;
The small arrow in her heart.
As we cross the leftward bridge to the green,
The winds in the old oaks again conspire,
"Ask her."

      — Jim Mervis