The spring loosens its ratchet grip
to let a cog slide in the gloaming
of this adventure, as I look back

to softer faces and see the bright
and vulnerable lights flicker still—
despite fifty years of turbulence.

One triggers another around the fire,
half-lit silhouettes showing erosion,
an age that dares that same naiveté

endured among classmates—sweet
indulgence for old preppies, we harken
to the start of our circumambulation.

Ranch hand, irrigator, feeder of hay
wrestling stacks with Egyptian
engineering, I hear no call to arms,

no impossible gather without me—
all the young bucks risking and riding
good horses have that corner covered.

Following the old hands, I know cows,
like people, would rather be led
than driven with whoops and hollers.


  1. Laurie Schwaller

    This is your 50th h.s. reunion?? Mine is this year, too. But I haven’t seen, or even really thought of, most of those classmates since I left El Paso, so long ago. Can’t make up my mind whether to attend the reunion in October. Do you have advice? (Aside from the wonderful last stanza?)


  2. I think I’m two years off yet, but recent communiques from classmates rekindled the fire, one recovering from West Nile, lymphoma and the medical system. I made the 40th, skipped the 45th. I’ll have to make the 50th just to reconcile the innocence of an all-boys prep school with the present tense.


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