then, strangers : a poem

then, strangers : a poem

but then instead of
going on the weekend trip
with her best friend
and her best friend,
she sat at home
for a long weekend
roaming between reading alone
and scrolling the instagrams
of her favorite baristas
at her favorite coffee shop
she knew all of their names
none of them knew hers

and then she ponders
for the hundredth time
how exactly you’re supposed to make friends
if everyone is just a stranger
you were taught
never to talk to

so then she lays awake wondering if,
convincing herself that she doesn’t
need companions at all
maybe instead of coffee dates
with an old friend or a future lover
she will instead take her
homework out for coffee
at her favorite coffee shop
to say hi to all her 
favorite baristas
she calls them by name
they call her by her number
she smiles all the same
because at least
when they ask her what she wants to drink
she can pretend it’s a conversation
and that they want to get to know
what she likes,
what she’s like

but then she remembers 
at the end of the day, we’re all strangers
if she wants to be someone’s friend
she’d have to ask them
but how would she even know
if she wanted to 
unless she already knew them?
and at that point they’d already be friends

so then she decided 
she could make it without companions,
coffee dates, lovers and conversations with her
so she takes her homework out for a drink
walks into what feels like home
greets the baristas by name
they ask her what she wants
she answers
they call her by number

at the end of the day,
we’re all strangers,
strangers we were always taught
never to talk to


this is one of my favorite poems i've written. i wrote it in my favorite little stl coffee shop, upshot. i come here at least once a week, usually to study, or read, or just sit alone and drink good coffee. i love this place because the baristas are so personable i feel like we're friends. i wrote this poem on a day where i was struck by the fact that i used to come here all the time with friends. this was my favorite coffee-date spot, but it's been months since i've come here with anyone or anything other than my school backpack that weighs the same as a 5 year old child. it was saddening, being in a place that feels like home, but a home without family to care for you or friends to visit with. sometimes i read this poem and i am saddened  by this loneliness painted pretty with words, rhyme and imagery. but other times my sadness is lessened by the poetic beauty these words and rhymes give my everyday existence. 

despite my overall aloneness (not to be confused with loneliness, but rather the simple state of being alone), these weekly interactions with my favorite baristas bring me so much joy. knowing their names makes me happy, and most of them now know mine. it feels good to be known, but it's also so good to be intentional to know and love others, even before they recognize you, or know your name and your order (which is impossible for me cause i'm always changing it up haha oh well). 

so here's a little piece of my heart via a little piece of my art. i hope you enjoy it, find a little beauty in it even if you may not personally relate. if you do relate, yay? i'm sorry? but i see you. i may not know you personally but know that you are known, and seen, and oh so loved, even if you don't know it yet. let's all be a little more intentional to get to know people, even just their name. when they ask your name for your order, ask them theirs, and thank them by name. you don't have to remember it forever, just thank them then. every little bit counts. we may be strangers now, but at that point, we may not always be. 

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