Reunion (October 2015)




Stunned by time, we walk

into the pale room blinking, 

as in a dream, and find 

ourselves transported

to 1965.


Who are these strangers?

Where is my locker?

What time is the game?


Blue and gold balloons

sway gently; some of us

use canes. The room is 

spinning slowly, like an old

Ronettes 45:

“Be my…be my baby.”


Everyone looks faintly

familiar, as if, perhaps,

they might have been friends.


Forty-four of us have passed

on, but we still know them

as kids: the fullback, 

the cheerleader, the

quiet girl, faces smiling

on the memorial wall.



In eight years the rest 

of us will reach the average

lifespan for our birth year.

Eight more chill, clear

Octobers. If we make it

to average. 


I still have dreams

about wandering the halls,

lost in the shuffling crowd, 

looking for my history

class, but the room

numbers are always out of order.

I wake in a sweat.


We try to recognize each

other, stealing glimpses of

name tags with yearbook

photos. But we have turned into

different people, bags under

our eyes, carrying some weight.


Entranced, we walk the halls;

slip through passages, past

the lockers with their secrets;

our footsteps rebound.

Some people shout

incoherently. We may all be

hallucinating, or at least, disarmed.


That day in November when they 

killed the president; we wound 

our way home in slow motion;

the boys tried not to cry. 

Then came the wars, the blood,

the draft board,

more assassinations, 

the shootings, the losses.

We got married, had children,

or not. We went on;

we grew old.


Some of us survived

to walk the beach

at Avalon, see children grow, 

or watch the leaves

turn against an October sky

of shocking blue.


Inside the chrysalis, we

grew wings, opened 

up, found something

hidden, almost learned

to speak in sentences

about something 

besides ourselves. 


Some of us can’t seem to

shut up, spraying machine  

gun bursts of words 

randomly across  

round tables. We don’t mind.


You don’t need

To justify your life to us. We were

here then, long ago, together, 

in this small cocoon,

and we went out into

the world: Saigon, Geneva,

Palo Alto, or just down the road to Darby, 

class rooms, diners,

board rooms, factories, 

churches, and, somehow,

we grew up.


We stumbled, we loved; maybe

we learned to hear 

the tanager’s song

or to unfold 

the coiled scraps of being

in our tattered brains into a soul

that can listen, that 

won’t pretend, that can

sit under the dogwoods in late 

afternoon and see

the sun slip behind the clouds,

that can know we are home.