“The best you’ve ever had is just a memory”

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2017 Barrett Winner

1st Place Isobel Brown

“The best you’ve ever had is just a memory”

Next time I’m blue, don’t call
me with a laugh and a smutty story.
Don’t sigh and say you miss our evening talks on the rooftop of your apartment building
watching the sun slink West,
and sneaking raspberries from Lady 3B’s little corner garden.
Don’t tell me “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately”.
Because you always hang up
just when I’m getting comfortable on my side of the bed,
blankets all pressed up along my back,
and I’m tired enough it’s easy to pretend your voice is tinny from a cold,
not 1,067 miles and a thunderstorm shaking the power lines.
You always say “I love you” before you go
but you don’t mean
tracing an outline well-preserved in the wrinkles of cold sheets,
and sweating through that old familiar green
inside this barnyard heart,
like I do.