Forty years, there are half as many here
as there were at the last one
my wife among many spouses who
didn’t make the trip this time.
Who to sit with? We are equal strangers
carrying a paddle shaped fan
with blown up yearbook photos
on the front, actual size entries facing
you, in case you’ve forgotten who you were,
what things you thought were important
back then, what your ambition was.
You hold it in front of your face
like a madri gras mask on a stick.
Everyone stops to play the guessing game
fumbling for their glasses, holding
your paddle at arms length to see.
Oh, it's you! We didn’t know one
another but to say hello passing
in the hall ways or stomping on the bleachers
at the footfall games. We could have
used the yearbooks then,
when we were in High School.
We could have attached names
to the braids and plaid skirts
to the pompadours and Bob Dylan afros.
We missed the chance to know
who was in what clubs,
the teachers’ first names,
who was backstage adjusting the lights
on the star players in My Fair Lady,
could have realized all the girls were beautiful
at eighteen, all guys clueless, no matter how cool
or well dressed, no matter what kind
of car they drove, or what funny name
the kids on the bus called them.
I am drawn to the orbit
of former kids in my home room
forever linked alphabetically
and Alpha Gamma-ly
fellow lunch period travelers
sat down, now gray haired
at a table clothed with linen
with silver tableware settings,
crystal and folded napkins,
trying hard with weak ears
in the din and buzz to understand
back then why we were never part
of that conversation either.
Copyright by Tony Fusco.
Used with the author's permission.
|Purchase a framed print of this poem.
Tony Fusco is president of the Connecticut Poetry Society and has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Southern Connecticut State University. He works at the Yale Medical Group and is the author of Droplines, Jessie’s Garden, and three chapbooks. Tony is also the editor of Caduceus, anthology of the Yale Medical Group Art Place, and past editor of The Connecticut River Review and Long River Run, journals of the Connecticut Poetry Society. He produced West Shore Poets, a television poetry series at CTV, and is webmaster for several websites, including CT Poetry Society. Tony lives in West Haven with his wife, Patti; he has two adult children and three grandsons.
Bittersweet, full of wisdom, a wonderful poem.
Posted 09/22/2010 01:28 PM
This poem resonated with me in the fact that who knew? All girls were beautiful, all people the same no matter what clique.
Posted 09/22/2010 10:51 AM
Your poem was delightful. So many of us have been there. And your name was familiar, but it wasn't until the bio that I realized you and I had recently exchanged emails about humor in poetry when you accepted a poem of mine, which was not humorous, for your current venture, Caduceus. So many ways for poets to meet these days!
Posted 09/22/2010 06:43 AM