Because reunions sneak up on everyone:
It ended in the seats of the auditorium
Sleepy, pressed against the rough weave
Waiting to see who’d won the TV.
Not me, but that could be said of most
Roosting in the morning, watching
Our last high school performance.
The 80’s were over, neon lights down;
Give me one more minute, I think
From this long view, zoom back in.
Scaffold sundaes, dropping ice cream
From 10 feet up, in the dark, in front
Of the cafeteria, decorated like a jungle.
Everyone is invited to this, provided
You graduated—it’s not a dance
Like all the ones I missed or didn’t.
This is just Project Graduation:
Cafeteria, auditorium, parking lot
A last use of the school.
Last uses are based on first.
Concerts visited in junior high,
Qualifying for activities.
My first 9th grade activity.
A mission trip with just three of us.
Cynthia, myself, and Joyce.
Freshman biology and baby pigs,
Orchestra and competitions,
Rob opening a locker with his head.
Motion sickness in German class
Courtesy of a home video wobbling
Up stairs and twisting through halls.
And the rest? Assignments, exams
More mission trips, concerts.
Attending Our Town and crying.
Writing about temptation
Because it’s high school and
I am, on a daily basis, tempted.
Inventing a new Genre, boredom
In notes about nothing, linoleum
Marks, or the desk itself.
The epic of the Bearded Burger
Ravaging the orchestra in a downbeat
In multi-color ink.
And there we leave our friends,
Lost to a careless word, to my laziness
Conjured anger resentfully burning.
High school sometimes feels
Like the only thing I’ve ever done;
A mock-heroic triumph.
Everything starts out big, then
Diminishes, like Galadriel gone
Into the west, we shrink.
I never felt, sitting in the stadium,
As excited as I did as a child
Watching my cousins dress in purple.
Their high school color, their mums
Trailing down in my imagination
Like that ur-gown, satin-white and net.
Black shirts, Huff Girls, slick paint
Screaming ‘Graaaaahhh!!!” down
My side, that nameless frustration.
We sit in the SAT room, filling up
Circles. This is it, this is important
But it ends only a few hours later.
Scores come, invitations come;
But the reality is that English doesn’t
Merit an expensive degree.
And the end comes, the sunrise,
The open door of the old silver minivan,
Like all such gateways, dark as night.