Earlier, at dinner, our voices
were missing and only the sound
of the knife could be heard scraping
against the plate after cutting through
the chop, and that sound made
the sweat from my brother’s forehead
drip to his plate. The bucket we brought
after dinner, to the middle school, full of golf balls,
was once a bucket full of paint, and so some
of the balls were flecked with red dots
like drops of blood. We lined up, the four of us,
my brothers, my father, and I, at the edge
of the field, and swung the clubs made of iron,
hard as we could. We hit small white balls
the size of eyes or tulips. We ran after them
through the un-mowed field like dogs
fetching sticks. There was a cutout of a dog
in the middle of the field, left to scare
geese away from the grass. We aimed
right for it. Black dog. We didn’t aim,
we swung, which is a type of aiming
at everything we were, but didn’t mean
to be. We cursed each other. We cursed
ourselves. We took turns. We hacked
away the grass with the clubs in our hands.
When it didn’t go far, we swung harder.
Different stance. Different club. The air
was wet. Our shirts were sweaty. The sky
was blue. The sky was black. Night rose
unnoticeably over the field and the four of us
in it hitting and fetching our golf balls
and the blaring horns from the expressway
beyond the field grew fainter. I could see
the three of them swinging and then could only
hear the iron club cut through the thick grass.
Somewhere a light flickered above the lot
and somewhere, above our house, the moon
not flickering, but shining steady and white,
and inside our plates stewing in the heat
as the flies descend to suck the fat away.



James Ciano