For Connor
After a party to celebrate the mid- -term break
you and your friends stripped after midnight
and streaked from one end of that great Lawn
to the other, from the dignified Rotunda pillars
to the bronze tip of Homer’s nose, streaked
over the prospect Mr. Jefferson laid out
who never imagined the moonlit spectacle
of six young first-year men in their pelts
flashing across the grass on goat -feet,
dashing to touch the poet’s nose and back
over frosted grass to the steps, the safety
of their clothes again, breathless, the deed
done. Thinking about it, it’s only your body
I see, and only in shrapnel flashes, the streaking
light of it on light feet, your red head
thrown forward, netting specks of moonire,
the long strides and solid thighs of you
stretched fingers tipping bronze as you turn
a runner. something Greek- your sex chilled
by night and frost, but still in its strength
sending you headlong through the dark
like a cast spear in Homer, glimmering
and singing its flight. The moon
is remote, neo-classical, over where
among the young men loudly hurrying
into their clothes- you catch your breath
and I find, however it is, the rest of your life
branching from this rite of frosted passage, this
caper that stays in my mind as an image
of separation, the sight of your freshly stubbled face
alight like that, your vulnerable buttocks,
the feet, gleaming ghost of you disappearing
through air the frost has turned to icy water
and I stare- rejoicing as if ”d just hugged and
waved you off on some extraordinary venture
stare after you, even after the night has done
what it has to do and swallowed you, even
after that last glimmer is gone from my eye.


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