Class of ‘76
In the bar I lift G and T with shaking hands,
then slowly ascend stairs to the reunion room.
‘Old Girls’ shriek greet each other,
my face and name met by many
with blank expressions quickly masked by hug.
I too struggle with faces changed by cosmetic time,
mostly just recognise a name.
Facebook has tracked down a teacher
who calls us to order round the tea table.
Biographies are started but soon hijacked
by questions, talking over, laughter…
We get the gist that most of us left qualification poor.
Careers advice, a head shake to college,
You’d make an excellent sales girl dear
so Top Shop, Miss Selfridge, Snob…
marking time until marriage.
Some lives took flight though;
naughtiest girl has a nursing degree,
prettiest girl has a wealthy husband,
boldest girl has a demolition business in Australia.
I stage fright forget half my trophy cupboard ‘s achievements
deliver 40 years in one rushed breath to wall, table, carpet,
avoid Q and A session by hasty You next to my neighbour.
We cluster around last class photo.
I redden at my teenage self,
no trace yet of mother’s corrective genes,
but my father in drag,
little wonder no boy waited at the school gates for me.
Afterwards, scuttling down high street
head bowed as if still behind that face,
men outside restaurant suddenly shower compliments
I straighten up, sashay back to my car.
If you have any comments on this poem, Fiona Sinclair would be
pleased to hear from you.