Gerard Majella, patron saint of women
in childbirth, pray for me — the young student
cutting gravel with my tires to climb
the hill above Owasco. Uncle Jerry’s
lake house (he calls it “camp”) with hippie wife
rests under acorn trees down route from grape farms.

When he greets, I shake hands. He’s Gary when
among family but other-monikered for friends.
After wine, we unhinge the motorboat
and lap round the water’s outer ring,
October orange. Dinner, then purple pie
left me drowsy. Better split before dark.

Jerry’s misunderstood, I conclude,
but I get it. Who wouldn’t want a cabin
away from invalid mothers and guilt rash
back west? Here, in permanent autumn, you can
take a new name, grab a second beer,
keep a bohemian flame lit, feel
unencumbered joy. We should be so lucky.

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