I recall their faces from long ago,
last glimpsed under tasseled mortarboard caps,
features barely past childhood's hazy edge.
But these faces show different people,
some strongly resembling, some but faintly.
I wandered around smiling, shaking hands,
with mere seconds to compress fifty years.
I flicked my mental flip book back to front,
filling blank pages with imaginings:
I took some pounds off (or I put them on),
I covered bald spots, colored away gray,
I boosted their heights up an inch or so,
I brushed away any crow's feet, laugh lines
Till their aspects better matched my mem'ries.
But even then, these quickly drawn sketches
only showed shifting surface reflections.
All those wrinkles were meaningful life points.
Those pounds, that gray hair had been slowly earned
with grins and tears, with stony silences,
with worry and pain, with sloppy laughter.
All the emotions we swim our way through.
Never-ending time and magical pen
might just fill in the wholeness of their lives.
But maybe it's best to just let them be.
Harry W. Yeatts Jr.