A pine walking-bridge traces the country club fairways
like a nervous finger on a hem. Above the wetland,
I watch the men pared to a pendulum,
their golf carts fixed around buzzcut lawns.
Laborers trim the greens on even-numbered days,
brush and sterilize the bunkers weekly.
White polos and ironed khakis patter
about the manicured grass.
I glide across the sidelong path each day,
considering the best-suited plants
to seed along the fairway—succulents for the sand,
shallow-rooted crops for the putting greens.
Beside the course, briars deluge the sinking marsh
like blackberry bushes snaring my childhood home.
The irrigation systems are robust.
A few of the lakes are shallow enough
for a paddy field, the deeper waters
could be stocked with fish. The men spurn
the hazards that creep into their argyle socks.
I worry that I will always be this:
A container for play outlined by men,
unnatured, defertile trap,
set of holes, no trespassing nailed to an oak.
A view from the balconies edging the boardwalk.
Ellie Howard is a trans-nonbinary poet from Georgia. They were previously published in the Eclectic, Lammergeier, and beestung, and are a 2022 Rhysling Award finalist. In their spare time, Ellie is learning to mimic the different bird calls heard around their apartment complex.