WHAT I’LL MISS THE MOST
A Graduation Poem by Zoë Woodbridge
4:50 – that magic number
Each day we hear the page echo
through both buildings
telling us it’s time to go.
We grab our lunches, backpacks,
art projects or instruments,
pack them in our cars
and drive back home
only to return the next day.
I’ll miss the drive, to be honest.
There’s nothing quite like rolling through
the shade of trees on Queen Anne
and pulling up
to Amy on her little pink bike,
little boys playing four square,
then turning off the car
no longer hearing Fugazi
or Mewithoutyou or whichever CD
Eli’s blasting that day,
then putting the Camry in park
and walking up the stone path into school.
I think maybe I’ll miss that the most:
that first look up at the porch
while you hear Heart and Soul
being played in the Chesapeake Room sunlight,
that first breath we take
before starting the day.
Or maybe Zoe and Livvie running up to me
“Zoë! Zoë!,” then wrapping their tiny arms
around my legs, the other little kids yelling hi
as they run off to Capture-the-Flag or kickball,
just the general smiles in the morning saying
“We’re so glad to see you.”
And then there’s the talk
and the laughter
rolling through the hallways
all about Jimmy’s Halloween costume
or Billy’s JC excuses.
I’ll miss that, too.
But maybe the one thing
that I’ll really have to work on
is that head turn I do each day
while walking back to the Camry.
I’ve signed out and gathered my poems,
then I turn my head full of brownish hair
and look back
at the Old Building porch, the New Building,
at this school that’s been built
on so much more than dirt and rock.
I take it all in one last time
before heading home.
A big part of me hurts
when I think, when I know
that Friday will be the last time I do
all of these things
in this particular order I have.
I know that of all the places
I’ve ever left
Fairhaven will be the hardest to leave.
But do we really ever leave?
We all come back, either when leaves change
or on this day, to our foundation
to this place that beckons us like a home,
this place we sometimes need to be.
I’ll cry. I know I’ll cry.
And I know that of all the places
I’ve ever missed, somehow,
I’ll miss this one the most.