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Poetry

High school yearbook

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I opened my high
school yearbook
and looked inside
at the lost and
glowing faces
printed in black
and white ink
suspended in time
20 years ago.

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There we were:
Erin, Rachel,
Pete, Chris,
Paul, Ricky
Michael, Anne,
myself, John,
and others

with rosy
cheeks and
awkward passion
like animals
ready to mate
or flowers
ready to bloom.

(Then again
maybe we
had already
bloomed
and have
been withering
ever since.)

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It was the year 2000.

Back then, it felt
like we were living
in the future — the internet,
Britney Spears,
MP3s, cell phones,
The Matrix, and
baggy jeans.

Today, blessed
with the gift
of perspective,
it looks more
like a safe
and passing oasis
that couldn’t
stay long
before 9/11,
student loan debt,
and the arrival
of children
would change
everything.

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The different
angles of
our rudders,
although subtle
at the time,
gradually steered
our ships
miles apart.

Now this one
is a fisherman’s
wife in Alaska,
this one is a
small town cop,
this one is a
college professor,
this one is an
Army soldier,
this one is
a millionaire,
this one took
her own life
after years 
of depression
that nobody
saw.

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Everybody became
somebody different,

but I still feel
the same:

lost in another
daydream

(or perhaps the same
eternal daydream),

throwing rocks
into the river,
and not learning
as much as
I should.

James McCrae