Hole in One

By Alan Shapiro

Since my dad was blind by then,
when David and I led him from his apartment
to the tee of the shrunken one hole
golf course that served as kitschy
courtyard for the complex
of retirees only well-off
enough for this unironic
aping of the rich, it was by habit
only that he looked down
at the ball he couldn’t see,
then up and out into the void
of stunted fairway and green
while first this foot then that
foot patted the fake grass, almost
kneading it cat-like till the tight
swing arced the ball up high

as the second-story windows
and I swear it was like a trick
ball the pin on an invisible line
reeled in straight down
into the hole—his first and only
hole in one, on the last swing
of a club he ever took, though
we didn’t know this then, and how
we whooped my brother and I
as we jumped and capered throwing
the other balls up into the air
while the old man baffled said what?

what happened? what? already wistful
for this best moment of a life it was
his luck the blindness made him miss.

And now it’s my luck, isn’t it just
my luck, to be the last one
remembering, as if I’m not just
there with them but also far
removed above it all and watching
as through the block glass of an upper-story
window high enough for the ruckus
not to reach me but too low
not to see the filmy blur of
bodies hugging one another
pumping fists as arm in arm
the three of them head out across
the fake grass of that single hole.

Alan Shapiro has two books of poetry forthcoming; Proceed to Check Out, from University of Chicago Press in 2022, and By and By, from the Waywiser Press (England) in 2023.

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