Irish Exit

Just published on Panoply,

“The magnificent seven,”
George would proclaim
although I warned him
again and again

that crowing was
sure to jinx us.
We had been a crew
since early childhood—

back when crawling was more rewarding
then the two-step flop.
In our twenties,

we had our own
table at the local
and met every night
after school or work.

It was in mid-May—
one of those Mays
that was really still April,
it rained and it rained.

We all got
the same three word message
“be in touch,”
from Kevin,

our token Irishman,
although his Brooklyn
accent was so heavy,
we were sure

he couldn’t survive
ten miles outside the five boroughs.
But aside from those
three words

we heard nothing.
Days grew to weeks
and Kevin became
an endless topic

of conversation.
We expected any moment
to be questioned
by the FBI,

roughed up
by the local don,
or cut and left for dead
by the motorcycle gang

that sold smack
down the block on Saratoga.
George would say
“it must be a woman”

and we all
imagined a sweet young thing—
just showing and frantic
to know Kevin’s whereabouts.

Nowadays, those of us
who still have hair
have watched it turn
to gray.

The six of us
still share a table
once a week or so—
and we’d all admit,

that each time the pub
door opens,
we glance over
hoping it might be Kevin.

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