Ron Buehler stands before me,
vested, hatted, mustachioed.
He’s pushing 50 and so am I.
We are both completely civil.
When we last shared space I doubt
I was even aware of his presence—
a victim of his oblivion, and my own,
well before the fact of graduation.
In fifth grade, however—
the week of Spring Camp—
I met his eyes as the door
of a gym locker opened,
the locker in which I hid.
His motley gang of six
was there to find “the runt”
and “beat him to a pulp.”
A counselor’s timely rounds
were my salvation that night.
I look beyond Ron’s graying lip
and into his eyes once more;
they are blue. Does he remember?
Does it matter? After 40 years I
decide it does not. And this afternoon
it is he himself who is my deliverance.