Simply Silly

By James Mulhern


You sit in the cafeteria corner,

oblivious to the old teacher watching you.

Too busy avoiding eye contact with peers,

fingertips white from pressing so hard

against the open book you’re not reading.

As if this ritual would prevent the cool kids

from looking and laughing at your expense.

You want to be invisible because you feel

unlikeable and unimportant.

You think, Why would anyone talk to me?

Someday, when you’re truly reading

and the book is full of poetry,

I hope you chance upon this page

to discover that a gray-haired teacher

cared about you many years ago.

Know that you were never insignificant,

the cool kids were simply silly,

and you mattered much to him.