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I viewed him back then
with all the blinkered social
awareness of the teenager
that I was, that we both were,
as conservative, drab, boyish,
someone who’d never exist
in a different relation
to coolness or to me
no matter how many years passed.  
It never occurred to me
that the years would pass
and our lives would entail
more than walking to class
and sitting in cafeterias
in khakis and collared shirts.  
There were those, myself included,
whom I couldn’t imagine ever having
girlfriends much less wives,
friends much less children,
couldn’t picture not sleeping in bunks
above incompatible roommates
much less in apartments
on the Upper East Side.
I think of him as I last saw him,
hurrying across campus
with his graduation robe
blowing up over his pants,
and wonder how he and I
would have lived differently
knowing how transformative
time would be, a wave
of such strength and height
we couldn’t have conceived it,
would have disbelieved it
until it broke over us
and in our lifetimes
would not come again.


Michael Milburn teaches high school
English in New Haven, CT.  His book
of poems, Carpe Something, will be
published by Word Press in June.
by Michael Milburn
ALUMNI
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