THE DRIVING RANGE
Now minutes scale the walls of the house like rodents.
The squeaks grow louder, and lights go out like the faces of disappointed women.
I heard it all before: nothing will be the same, your life is going to change,
each phrase uttered like an apology for not paying for drinks.
And I’m supposed to do all this without complaining?
Like the time my father took me along to work in his truck,
me nagging for having been roused from a summer slumber.
We pulled into an alley, heaved out the trash from the building site
—I didn’t know it was illegal until he hit the accelerator
and I felt the rush of escape, the thrill of leaving behind all that shit.
Today, he offers me praise in code, and when he gives advice
he mutters underneath his breath, as though it were against the law.
The neighborhood heaves with a thousand types of desire,
and when the doorbell rings, it’s Grandma with a pair of knit booties
for our newborn son, who eats his fingers and is really just a mouth.
When the screaming stops, I swallow huge gulps of love
and then I go to the driving range, where other men
swing metal clubs at balls that will never do what they wish.
—from Rattle #29, Summer 2008