There was something he'd done:
left the hose on or let
the dog out or
strewn his clothes around.
I didn't know.
What happened afterward
I didn't understand enough to mention
and it would have been stupid besides.
We were twelve
and Peter and I were outside
and Peter's father
opened the porch screen door
and stood there facing the yard.
Ray's face was red and he told Peter,
Come over here.
So my friend walked over
and he caught some hell, not a lot
but enough. I don't know
where my parents were
but our green Dodge was parked
by Peter's family's garage and I climbed
on the hood to see the way Ray's lecture ended.
There was, How could you, and, Why don't you,
and, Sorry, Peter said and then a pause and Ray
took a seat on the steps. Then
Peter smiled and Ray leaned just forward
and held him a moment, and gently,
like their lives depended on it.