To the unknown student whose book I bought at McKay’s

or, “A poem about my daughter going through a middle-school breakup”

For fifty cents
I saw your broken heart;
it was underlined in red
on the fifteenth page, and since
the spot was warped and wrinkled (from being marked
with an angry hand, I guessed) the book fell open there
as if it wanted to share
your pain.
            I’ve read
it since again and again,
trying to picture you sitting in your room
after school, your checkered uniform still on,
the boyband posters smiling down
      while all around
you sense the world has lost its color
and nothing matters – and soon
you’ll have to see him walking to class
or in Mr. Meadow’s room,
and you’re contemplating whether your heart
will even continue to beat
         when you pass
         him in the hall,
and crying you take your ballpoint pen
to underline “I’ll never love again.”

Originally from North Carolina, L. R. Harvey currently lives and teaches High School English in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He believes that the primary purpose of poetry is to put into words that which we intuitively know to be Reality yet struggle to express. Primarily influenced by the work of Robert Frost, Richard Wilbur, Timothy Steele, and Billy Collins, he aspires for his poetry to be a symbiotic relationship between insight and accessibility, formal structure and everyday speech. Educationally, he currently has a BA in English and an MA in Teaching, and he is planning on pursuing his MFA in poetry within the next year.

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2 Responses to To the unknown student whose book I bought at McKay’s

  1. You captured this perfectly. Well done!

    • Luke Harvey says:

      Thank you, Sarah! As a poet who is further along in her career, I would love if you would take the time to check out some of my other work at

      Again, thank you for reading!

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