In Your Class Reunion Dream

by Michael Diebert

Only 40 or so of you here—
a puddle, a tiny cross-section—
at the brand-new hotel and conference center.
The old intimidation hard at work.
But everyone seems to be mouthing in unison
over their complimentary drinks
You're not alone and Look how
we've all been sprung from the yearbook.
Cheerleaders chatting up band geeks.
The class president trading barbs with the girl—
woman—whose answers he used to copy.
You and the salutatorian
having a heart-to-heart about singing
or summer or something else that brings you joy.
Some have become their own bosses,
most work for the man, but many still claim
the spaces they are standing in.
The women, dear God, have gotten only more gorgeous.
You run through several alternate scenarios.
David and Shane (so their badges say)
shake someone's old pom-poms. The dust rises,
the insults land like smart bombs.
Nine takes to take the class picture.
You're most impressed with the one
in which only half of the now-30 of you
are smiling. Your hands curiously to yourself.
There are prizes:
youngest grandfather, most unrecognizable,
best posture, least beaten up by timeā€¦
The taco bar and the baked potato station go untouched.
A collective shout. Jello shots in the parking lot.
The playlist has changed from senior prom
to the heyday of the late and ignored
Curtis Mayfield, a man before your time
and well ahead of his. You assume
your place in the circle of now-23 or -22,
you're losing count, but no sweat,
everyone is frozen and listening for a minute
to that falsetto like a balm,
the still-new moon is sneaking some beams
through the tall windows. You have the room
until midnight, and there's so much to say.

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