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.