A List of Those We Don’t Expect to Miss

While I normally critique and discuss the writings of others in my column, “The Book Club” in our Arts and Entertainment section, I have decided to start publishing some of my own work as part of The Lawrentian as well. In this column, I will be posting some of my poetry each week and explaining the background surrounding them, whether it be the process I used to create them or what inspired me to write them to begin with. I don’t normally share my poems with others, so this is a rather big step for me.  

This first poem focuses on those in our lives we meet for a brief period, whether it be for a few fleeting moments each week or for a few months, and how it can feel to lose them despite never truly knowing them. When I was thinking of people I would eventually miss once I graduated, a lot of the people that came to mind were classmates who weren’t quite friends, and I realized they most likely wouldn’t think about me years down the road. This got me thinking about all of the people we see from day to day, whether it be the classmate who always sits in the desk next to you or the restaurant worker who has been taking your order for years. This poem is dedicated to all of those we don’t expect to miss one day.  

There was the boy who sat next to you in poetry 

class, picking his nails with the same precision he put into his  

word choice. He would praise your diction whenever you crafted a simile 

but then leave class without looking back. There was also 

the weathered café employee who got to know your order by heart – her voice, which called 

for an iced chocolate chai, with a hint of almond and a shot of espresso 

still calls you to a time you cannot return to. Today you still hesitate 

to crack your knuckles, in fear that your harsh childhood piano tutor will scold you 

and make you repeat the C Major scale, the hammer making the strings vibrate 

under your fingertips. There were coworkers you spent days  

with, cracking jokes and perfecting customer service personas – who suddenly didn’t show 

for their next shift, and a new face came to replace them to pack the paper grocery bags 

at the end of your lane. The list of people you don’t expect to miss 

grows longer each day – like now you recall the boy in the blue jacket with the zipper wide open, 

who ran past you, coffee in hand, most Tuesdays on your way to poetry class.