George David Clark
PORTRAIT OF MY FATHER WITH A THREE-WOOD
He tells me what he knows about the fairway,
how best to play the dogleg to the green,
and then, to show me, climbs the grassy stairway
to the elevated tee. Pin oaks, where they
lean along the cart path, make a wind screen:
he tells me what he knows. About the fairway
teams of leaves go scuffling while we stare day
up through the fog. It isn't only golf he'll mean
to show me when he climbs the grassy stairway.
It took him fifty years to learn to swear, pray,
speak well for God, or for a shot's careen,
he tells me. What he knows about the fairway
is secret even to the groundsmen in their gray
routines. This is where two men convene
(he shows me) and climb a grassy stairway
through the trees. I shudder at the chill air, say,
I can't see the bunkers or the creek's ravine.
He tells me what he knows about the fairway
and then, to show me, climbs the grassy stairway.
George David Clark's poems can be found reprinted elsewhere online at Verse Daily and Poetry Daily. He teaches creative writing and literature as a Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso University and is the editor of 32 Poems.