Visitors came back all the time
People who graduated the year before
2 years before
Or even ten years before
People in their careers
Or just college students eager to visit
Their old friends
Or feeling nostalgia
For the heart of Northport
That was their home 5 days a week
For 4 years.
The doors, on all sides of the building
You technically were supposed to check in
With the front desk
But no one did
And no one cared.
Old friends who had come and gone
Would pop their heads into the class room
Greeted warmly by the teachers
Hang out in the library
With Mr. Hanley,
The coolest librarian in the world
Free of the burden of classes and warning bells.
By the time I had graduated
I managed to get in 1 visit like this
1 stress free, care-free visit
post 9-11 hysteria
School shooting paranoia
Started keeping security guards at every door
Restrictions on visitor passes
And every entrance to the school locked.
I sometimes miss my high school
And want to go back there
And every time the thought crosses my mind
I sigh in disappointment
At the realization
I’d have a better chance
Of getting granted
A pass for visiting hours
At a prison.