Grandson, these tears you see

would be for the picnic by the lake that autumn

when we friends from childhood

fell in love at the same time


The air was cool but not yet cold,

empty and bright through the leaves


Scattered in couples, we stood kissing until

our teeth hurt, arms strung over our lover’s hips

Even at a distance from the others I could hear

the uncut laughter of our youth


You will not know about a day like that day

until you have come to a day

when those you have loved

have gone before you and you sit alone

crying to a boy about how alone you are


I cry easy now at the sounds

of redwings calling to their mates,

see the skin of our faces

tight and smooth as new melons,

the sharpened edges of our eyes


Grandson, we smoked and drank and laughed,

played gin rummy until sunrise

The next afternoon at Nina’s house

we cooked huevos rancheros, swigged tequila,

fell asleep on each others laps, woke in the dark

to the scent of rain through the screens,

tripping over arms and legs and tumbled chairs


I hear our confused voices in that early morning

passing in the hall in sandals, scuffling not to tumble

off wooden front porch steps, the farewells we mumbled

easing each other into vintage cars

for the jolting ride into the glaring dawn