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.