My old two-room frame schoolhouse is gone
(grades one to four downstairs, a lady teacher;
upstairs the last four grades, a man)
and the brash new brick one closed in sixty-six.
How high the hip roof loomed! Yet we would throw
hex-nuts with string streamers back and forth
over it, and those red-white-and-blue foam-rubber balls.
Here, gone. To vanish, and return.
Most of my class of eight survive
though shy, lovely Nellie Lunnen’s dead,
suffering and brave under her mother’s hand-me-down
Mother Hubbards, who captured my hand
for our class photo. Proud, diffident,
beaten, defiant, secret, our frozen faces
can never age or die; they snatch us back
out of time each time they catch our eye.
August 29, 2011