In this essay on expectations, first I will give a background of the author, and then I will examine death.

It was a sparkling May evening, and the husband was preparing for a trip. I began the long task of opening the bills.

Or, things hadn’t been emotionally fulfilling for some time.

Or, I was so lonely.

But I still walked around with my expectations for the future like a busted-up suitcase.

As I opened the credit card bills, the expectations burst free and fell like terrible confetti all over the dining room floor.

At first the shock, and then I was too sad and then too tired to sweep them.

Over the months, they began to go rank. There were so many of them, like the souls of dead children waiting to be born. You can understand, it was impossible to dispose of them.

Whenever anyone came to visit, I’d quickly shoo them out. My therapist said I should let the expectations molder as long as I needed.

Pretty soon it was time to put up the Christmas decorations. Seasons like a large clock kept cycling through.

I am guessing you would like to know what happened to the expectations. In writing this essay I was also attempting to answer this question. However, when I went back to the dining room to complete the research, they were gone.

Lauren Shapiro is the author of Arena (CSU Poetry Center, 2020), listed as a top poetry book of 2020 in The New York Times, and Easy Math (Sarabande, 2013), which was the winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the Debut-litzer Prize for Poetry. With Kevin González, she co-edited The New Census: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (Rescue Press, 2013). She has translated poetry and prose from Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese, and Arabic into English and is currently translating a full-length collection of poetry by the Puerto Rican poet Zaira Pacheco. She is an associate professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.