~question often asked at a High School class reunions
I used to be the frog
you dissected in freshman biology. Remember?
You wired my nerves to a battery
so you could watch me twitch.
I was the lunch lady,
the largest one, who always
gave you extra topping on your jello square
because you were so thin. I was
the grumpy custodian who helped you
open your locker the morning
your dog died and you couldn’t see
through your tears. Once I
was the chubby cheerleader dummy
in the display case in the hall,
wearing a faded letter sweater and a little
blue skirt just above my pale pink knees.
Then I was that loser with braces who kept
flunking gym because I couldn’t stand
on my head or do ten chin-ups
or run a whole mile. When I
taught you physics, I liked to say
It was fun to watch you trying to hide
your embarrassed laughing with a cough.
I played the glockenspiel always
a little out of sync,
or the spit-filled trumpet,
or the clarinet that gasped and wailed. I was
Mrs. Barry, who hated Dickinson and Frost so much
I ruined them for you, almost for good.
Remember how I ridiculed you for daydreaming
during my terrible, tedious class?
But mostly I was the girl who wanted you
to ask me to the Christmas Dance,
who sat home alone that night
staring at the newspaper clipping of
you in your baggy basketball shorts,
your mouth open
as you tried to catch
the rebound that never came.