At the Goodwill by Timothy Walsh
Like crows tearing at roadkill,
people rummage among the aisles
and clothes bins,
ransacking the discarded clutter of other lives
for that special undiscovered something.
Beyond an army of tired shoes, you make your way
to the back corner
where golf clubs by the hundreds jut from barrels,
shafts and clubheads jumbled helter-skelter.
Nearby, old golf bags are piled like clumsy sea creatures
dead upon the sand.
Splayed zippers and torn pockets full of old golf balls,
crumpled scorecards, stubby pencils, and old tees…
Some clubs are still caked with mud,
remnant of the day they were last played,
orphaned by the terse calling card of death,
forgotten in basements or garages long past the funeral,
until they are dropped off, lifted from the trunks of cars
with a pallbearer’s decorum…
Clubs once cherished by men,
magic implements to leverage the spirit,
arcane as alchemists’ weapons—
Spalding Synchro-Dyned Top-Flite,
Lynx Predator, Golden Ram,
Wilson Strata-Bloc Cup Defender,
MacGregor Oil Hardened Chieftain—
each club someone’s personal Excalibur
elevating the soul with each dance-like swing,
old woods, maple and persimmon, once
lovingly cleaned and oiled,
now grimy, cast off, seemingly dead.
But if you close your eyes, you can feel something—
a low hum, diffuse as starlight—
all the accumulated shot-concentration of decades
stored in the clubs like batteries,
the fire of long-dead golfers still smoldering
in the grips and clubheads.
Bring an armful home. Scour them clean.
Rub lemon oil into the wood, and mink oil
onto the leather grips.
Tomorrow, take them out on the course.
Send the ball flying with a satisfying crack of wood,
the club in your hand ecstatic as a blind man
with restored sight.