November 17, 2012

George Shaffer

CLASS REUNION

The room surrounded her like mist
that nostalgic night.
Back at school she’d
tolerate nothing less.
She was always so distant,
status obsessed,
terra incognita. So much so
I was surprised she came—
I thought she’d have feared
what the years can do
and as they were not kind to her
a certain humility
seemed to surface
in her femme fatale past.
Her hello was almost soft,
easing memories
of awkward pimply days,
agonized virginity,
episodes of inferiority.
Her words were slow, guarded,
expressions pained
and I was immensely moved
to learn that it was chemotherapy
in her last year on earth.

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004