— For Bob, Jerry , Ron and Howard
The five of us went up the ocean path
so full of dinner’s heady wine, aroused
by curiosity and light behind bay trees —
late in the season, more as friends
this loose arrangement to our house —
of middle age with thinning hair
and one infected years ago, another of uncertain
health, bound to spend these summer months
laughing on our open deck, the anecdotal
and the old, who will cook and who will clean
now satisfactorily known.
Half in fear we walk ahead to climb a rise
by thinning pines, the merriment of just before
gone with the darkened clouds. In bolts of white
its life inside seems bright and manic
to its glow — like primal glances of a god
more fierce than understood.
Below we stand like startled deer
who in the thicket bounce and flee
unmoving like the boys we were
when first we’d heard of the disease.
Friends tonight who walk away
back to the house we’ve come to know
and close the doors and brace for rain
enormous to the horizon.
from Circuit by Walter Holland © 2010