(In Memoriam: Patrick Lally  1945 – 1968)
The art of losing isn’t hard to master. – Elizabeth Bishop

Didn’t know the stars on that clear night
  only the big dipper remembered from camp
  twirling round-the-pole like a tipsy bear

had not made love by the end of my teens
  no desperate grip of zipper
  no awkward clutch of breast or rump

lived in a time before seat belts when
  my brother (someone’s passenger) could fly
  into the vast disaster of unintended swerve

We did what had to be done and then
alone in the back of my parent’s Fairlane
  I pressed my face to the cold window
  to watch god rise up to the scoup of the sky
                 an ascension with a one-way ticket

gone my Virgil, gone my guide

The next day I heard my mother’s voice
  a long-distance call without charge
  cracking to say “be careful”