Monday nights, I bowl. The rich hate bowling the way I hate golf, all that green space wasted, the arrogance of white balls sailing through the air like God himself only to disappear down a hole when you need him most. When my father-in-law asked me to bowl, I knew that, if he didn’t love me, he at least liked me enough to let me join his team. Bowling to me is like poetry: you mostly compete against yourself, and there’s no defense, only offense, the white pins smashed, the boxes marked with slashes and Xs going on for a while and then not. I am an awful bowler but have an honesty that elicits from the team a kind of forgiveness, a hope that I will get better, and for that I am grateful to all supplicants at the foul line. These men don’t know about my poems or how I am giving up, how I have come to know so little about the things I love. You can’t go on pretending the dogwood petals fallen on the lawn are letters from God. You can’t stop a war with poems, or revise your life in meaningful ways. Not even the attempt matters, as I once believed. No news in poetry, Williams wrote, yet men die “for lack of what is found there,” but even with poetry, men go on dying. Jane Hirschfield suggested the only good poetry is that which catches something as large as your life and death. If so, then there is no good poetry. Men strap on bombs, and men with no hope for a job and no money even for a night of bowling sign away their lives, and I stand on the lanes and watch my ball roll and love most these men who do not believe that poetry matters, and woe to you, you poor bastards who do.