My friend Jack called for me every day,

we toodled along to school, animated chums,

swapped sandwiches at lunch,

chased screeching girls around the playground.

Bonded like the Corsican brothers.


As we got older we biked to Valley Stream,

panned for gold among the igneous rocks,

searched for phosphorescent logs in the bog

along our favorite Gitche Gumee shore.

Under a scarlet oak tree malachite

stones formed a limpid pool where

we scooped up tadpoles in the April sun,

chased pink salamanders as they scurried across

emerald color star moss on the bank.

Built a hodge-podge club house for

initiation rites to prove how brave we were,

conspiring predators, we aimed BB guns at

flapping crows as they caw-cawed out of reach.


As high school classmates we were part of an

elite clique, discovered Aldous Huxley and

Andre Gide, sat in on jazz sessions on 48th Street,

made weekly pilgrimages to hear Dizzy and

Bird at the Royal Roost.

We argued well into the night at the

all night Bickfords in Sunnyside,

a desolate scene out of a Hopper painting.


As college grads we hiked the Appalachian trail

before the Korean War took us separate ways.

Jobs in different places stretched our bond,

marriage and family , surprising complications.

My phone calls and letters went unanswered.

There are no answers only questions.

Why didn't you call me back, Jack?


Milton P. Ehrlich