Harvard College Reunion, Class of 1958
Adrift between symposia and seminars,
a drizzle of reverie on Bow Street,
aimless nostalgia graying in droplets of fog.
At the corner of Arrow the campanile
of St. Paul’s looming through the mist,
Italianate monolith, blood- red brick.
this was where you fell, Marco,
a bluster of a June day, 1957, the day
the scaffolding betrayed you, left
you hanging to mock gravity, the split
second of wonder before the inevitable.
I stare up, watch the swallows and wrens
loop and hover about the belfry clock,
the minute hand inches toward the hour,
the bells toll three, the birds
whoosh off at the plangent peal.
that was when you fell, after sweaty
hours sandblasting the brick,
flailing the humid air, wingless
against the corkscrew dive.
I stare down at the concrete
where your blood once pooled –
so where were the winged angels
to waft you safely to ground?
they said your head hit first,
that the sound was one nobody
would want to hear again.
And tonight we will be dining and
dancing – a cloudburst of reminiscence
for us who have survived the thunder
of a half century, the one lost to you
in a heart’s single beat,
a rogue gust of hot wind.
in the class book an asterisk, a terse footnote:
Mark Brennan – died June 17, 1957