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The thing about our tribes
Is how fluid they were
Until they weren’t
We unlocked
the expectations of others
Until the expectations of others
Locked us back in

I remember high school in twos
the wild ones
the responsible ones
Freaks and jocks
Greasers and geeks
Black and white
Now the wildness is,
mostly,
Done, leaving
satisfaction
wisdom
Lives not absent pain or disappointment
Or brimming with success
But appreciated, understood
This is what wisdom is, I suppose

The cheerleader and the freak are friends.
We march, now, for the Black lives
That we didn’t see back then
The greasers, against expectation
And the pressure of our nation
Attend the professional conference
With the children of the profs
While the famous one is gone

Decades later
We discovered
the larger tribe
of us

We discovered the powerful glue
that is the hometown.
To know that we all came
from
this
place
binds us now better
Than what separated us then
And the girl who still shines out
through the woman
The gentleness in the boy
That you mistook for weakness
Before you were wise

Urbana High School memories #5: Lisa B.

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