Writing & Photo Contest 2016 Runner-up — Poetry



i cannot believe how many days i spent
plucking petals off of flowers,
trying to see if you loved me
only to realize i was ripping something apart
to keep myself whole
and today i tried to fit the mold
of a girl you once loved
that self deprecating thing with long hair and bags under her eyes
that you loved to romanticize
because it made you look like a hero
why did we think it was beautiful to smoke menthols
and listen to other poets on stage
talk about all the ones they’ve lost
a bunch of aching souls sitting in a lonely bar
you held my hand beneath the table
as if you knew i’d be up there one day
i think the ghosts have given up on us
they’ve retreated; they have nothing left to haunt
i heard them say “my god, the living are more soulless, than the ones already dead.”
i promise them this pain is only in my head
hoping they wouldn’t hear my heart breaking in my chest
and i know you’re living your life now
pretending that i never existed
i admit, sometimes, i don’t think i ever did
i promise i’ll stop writing poems
if you stop sending me letters
that end with you saying you love me
but not enough to stay.

Judges’ Comment

This poem makes great use of detail. It twists common imagery associated with love in a fresh way to portray the conflict between longing for a lover and a desire to move on.

This was an entry in the 2015/16 Writing & Photo Contest.