I imagine that the young men
I went to school with have retired
by now, given up their desks
for free-wheeling possibilities

to coast downhill grades, collecting
their rewards and all the promises made
to themselves, over and over again.
I truly wish them all the best.

And I suspect the girls have become
wise grandmothers with practical advice,
keeping secrets in ceramic cookie jars
with noisy lids like I remember.

Leaving with Stafford, I retire
from a world too large to digest,
and go to that far place for the familiar
sign, those recognizable tracks

where wild makes sense of circumstance.
We are collecting short stories
like mushrooms in wicker baskets
before they fade and melt into the ground,

discussing how we’ll sauté them over fire
in butter and garlic to melt in our mouths
instead. Already we can feel their wild
flavor rage in our veins, like venison,

as we shed the old flesh, find keen eyes.
All the ghosts will rise beneath the stars
to gather at our fire, faces flickering
in the darkness to share the light.



  1. Very nice. A fine tribute.


  2. Peter Notehelfer

    “We are collecting short stories / like mushrooms in wicker baskets/
    before they fade and melt into the ground . . .’ Terrific imagery reminding me of those times of transition in my life where somethings came along and others were left behind, held only in my heart . . . Great writing!


  3. Corporate on one side of a scale and nature/outdoors and comradery on the other. Wonder how the scale tips with age, and for how many. For some no change, for others no need.
    An old wise outdoorsman taught me years ago to release some spores from the mushrooms you gather so more will replace them. It took years to realize how deep his words weer.
    This was perfect for this Monday morning stirrings. Thank you once more.


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