Iconography

by Maryann Corbett

From my Catholic high school, a reunion mailing arrives for the Class of '68.

What rectitude upholds us, motionless
in these prom pictures!
Each dinner-jacket-next-to-floor-length-dress
by its formal strictures

vows we will make the lives the world expects:
Marry, breed, and nurture. Light the dark
with faithful and well-regulated sex.
Pair, à la Noah’s Ark.

Some didn’t, though no pale, soft-focus reasons
appear in the bland yearbook I peruse,
moved by a black-framed notice in this season’s
alumni news:

Quarterback, scholar, icon from a time
when silks were draped more softly, creases were crisper,
he died of a disease some old friends name
in a sobered whisper,

while others, those who didn't move away,
knowing the truth, rewrote his youthful mythos
with gentle exegesis on the lie
he lived in with us,

and I (who with the letter’s revelation
will reinterpret truths I thought I knew)
wonder, What uprights in our firm foundation
were not pierced through?

  

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