by Linda Pastran
We come to hear the endings
of all the stories
in our anthology
of false starts:
how the girl who seemed
as hard as nails
how the athletes ran
out of races;
how under the skin
our skulls rise
to the surface
like rocks in the bed
of a drying stream.
Look! We have all
My mom forwarded me this poem yesterday
from the daily email she gets from The Writer’s Almanac.
She knew it would hold special meaning for me, I’m sure,
since I’d just reunited with some of my closest friends from high school.
What struck me about this poem is how true it is in most cases of old friend reunions,
yet how far from the truth it is in this particular instance.
I think I could have told you way back then,
when little things seemed like big things
and the future felt like a far-off fantasy land,
who these four friends would wind up becoming.
Because nobody really hid who they were.
There are no football stars or homecoming queens here.
This batch of buddies consists of big dreamers.
Smart and silly.
Kind-hearted and quirky.
Had someone given me a crystal ball back then,
I would not have been surprised to see our somedays.
Jeff A. is slaying dragons and building bridges in Hollywood.
Kelly still cries and snorts when she laughs about nothing and everything.
Jeff D. still wears a heart of gold on his nicely-pressed sleeve.
Lei is still an adorably goofy genius.
And I gleefully still get to call them friends,
whether they’re near or far.
What a relief it was to sit together around a table again,
just like lunchtime in the St. Louis Park high school cafeteria,
knowing everything’s changed
yet everyone’s the same.