Golf Number 3

Not children before him,
doves—in the way
of one of his dreaded straight balls
as he swings the driver.

Two startled birds go wheeling around
a eucalyptus and up.
This golf course is in Scottsdale.
Not Altoona where he lives

and taught sixth graders Latin for
years. Those rows of moments
emptying, becoming sand traps
around the green.

But he rolls the ball into the cup
eighteen times, surprised anew by how loud
and hollow it sounds.

Done, he sits with the dry winter air
and sunlight—on a bench awaiting
the bus back to his daughter’s condo.

Days no longer build
like a lesson. The sky doesn’t care,
the long thin clouds fan out
high overhead more like
mares’ tails than icy crystals.

Equae caudis earum
he says to the bus driver,
when the door opens—
the forefinger on his right hand
raised and upright beside his ear.

Roger Gilroy lives on a tourist beach and writes poems to go.