“Any Light” by Rayon Lennon

Rayon Lennon


A low sound
Missiles towards me
But doesn’t rip
My head off. I turn, jump
And shout like a castaway
Hailing a rare ship.
Apparently another golfer
On the breast of a hill
Had lost sight
Of me out in the heart
Of the pine-framed
Valley fairway.
He doesn’t blast
Another one. I wait
For him, watching wind
Smack leaves. I regard
Him, a white 20-
Something-year-old sporting
An otherworldly smirk
And a gray golf bag full
Of mirror-clean
Clubs. I stand back
To ward off possible
Killer Covid.
He drinks
Poland water, this kid,
And says he only saw
Me after he launched
His murderous shot. I look
At his yellow ball half-
Buried in the bunker
Growing old with new
Twilight. I’m in Sunday
Tiger red, I point out.
“That’s a color
Anyone would recognize
In any light.” He backs up
And concedes he saw me
After all. But hadn’t believed
His strength could reach
Me. “Believe it,” I tell him.
And wish him health, this kid
Who might grow up to be
A judge or a cop. The wind kicks
The flagstick. I hit my ball
To 7 feet. I kneel to read
The left-to-right putt. I stay down
A while, looking up
Into the empty bowl
Of sky, thinking
About that officer
In Minnesota who knelt
This way like a twisted
Prayer, on a black
Man’s neck until
Death entered
And consumed him
Even as he pled for more
Life. I rise. Light
Bloodies the trees.
I hit the putt and it swerves
And dies on the lip.

from Poets Respond
June 2, 2020


Rayon Lennon: “In golf, the ultimate sin is to hit a shot while another player—playing a hole ahead—is close enough to be hit by the ball. This happened to me this week; I was struck by how cavalier the offending player seemed to be about the incident as though he had hit the shot in my direction because I were invisible to him. And so when I knelt to read the putt, it brought up prayer and George Floyd’s cruel death by a policeman’s knee.” (web)

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