Grade School Reunion

Richard Schiffman

That they had come back from the dead
was, of course, encouraging.
Everyone remarked on how handsomely
I had survived their own demise.

Like the mothers of the disappeared,
we cradled portraits
of our vanished selves.
All of my amputated limbs twitched at once
as I held out my hat for the stray coins
of memory.

Who are you?
she asked.
Who are you?
I answered.

When she opened the Yearbook,
I wasn’t there.
When I unlocked my cranium,
she had slipped between the synapses.

Be a good shade, and remember me,
she pleaded. Your face is on the tip
of my tongue, I replied.
Can your name be far behind?

The undead showed up too.
Dear bully, how swell to see you
after forty years,
I chortled to the unforgotten.
I read your poems on Facebook,
the unforgiven cooly beamed.

We clicked our steins,
and posed for a group photo.
They’ve got Wi-Fi here,
she said, as she fiddled with her iphone.
All of your grinning mugs will arrive home
before you do.

Richard Schiffman is a writer based in New York, and a former journalist for National Public Radio. He is the author of two biographies: Mother of All, and Sri Ramakrishna, A Prophet For the New Age. His poems have appeared or are upcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry East, The North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Rattle, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The New York Times and many other journals. His “Spiritual Poetry Portal” can be found at

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