Golf Channel

I am sorry to the last two baby robins
that I scared into hurling themselves from the nest
built into my dad's hung-upside-down mountain bike
before they could really fly

and to the infinitesimal spiders
smeared like coral-red
Indian paint on the dirty
flowers of the bathroom

But the last shred of toilet paper
stuck to the bare cardboard roll
is maybe enough
to swab away the shame
of my acts.

My mom has managed to retain
the Golf Channel
in the cut-rate demotion of her cable service
made necessary by our recent
financial standing—
and that is enough for her

though she has never played golf
and no one can say why
she finds it so queerly meditative.

I was a caddy at Pine Lake Country Club
until the afternoon that
a stray drive struck me in the head—
fortunately at the exact position
of my metal-pin name tag.

And I'm sorry to the loaded son-of-a-bitch
whose expensive cigar I stomped out
as he was teeing off.

I wasn't thinking and thought you were done with it
and believed I was doing you
a courtesy while simultaneously
preventing forest fires around the suburban
homes of my more well-off then-friends, good sir.
Sincerely, "Stupid Little Shit".

I am sorry to the pristine specimen
of North American yellow perch that I hooked too deeply
off our dock on the St. Lawrence—

as your silveriness dusked along
the oily surface
further and further away
and the gulls and muskies wouldn't even touch you
with their metal-detector discernment.

It affected me gravely and I made sad
love with her that night in the musty-dresser-loft
where no one could say
why the experience hooked me
so deeply also—
bobbing limply
atop the starchy surface
of the bed.

The hook and the cast—
the ball and the drive.
The misguided projectiles
of momentary sporting arousal.

It is the same sadness
causing two adult robins
to squawk now from the wires overheard—
protecting what is hidden in the grass:
birdies like crushed golf balls
I only wished to clean.

I am sorry to myself whom I have barbed and smeared
and stomped and crippled in more ways
than I care to count or record
on the official scorecard of
destructive love.