Poetry Submission: ‘The 1’

by Aidan Bernales

How are you?
Isn’t that so strange?
After so long of not thinking about you, that’s the first thing I ask—
Are you feeling better than the last time we talked?
I remember how hurriedly I walked past your favorite store in the mall
In a weak attempt not to meet your eyes one more time
After we spoke our last goodbyes.
Should I have, though?
A safe haven in an open space that once felt secret with you beside me
Now contains just haunting remnants of two people
Once in love, never again
Ghosts holding Starbucks cups and eating club sandwiches from Figaro,
Staring at book covers in Fully Booked, wondering how to pronounce Sbarro,
Trying women’s clothes on in H&M, spraying sample perfumes on display in Bench
Do you still write about those moments?
Do you still wander on their carpeted floors, thinking if—
If things had just been a little bit different,
If life had just been a little bit kinder,
If we had just burned a little bit brighter,
Would it have been us?
Now Christmases and Birthdays and New Year’s Days pass without your greetings
Every achievement and celebration come without your congratulation
Our seven-year-old conversations rust with no continuation
But if the strings of fate had not come undone
If I apologized sooner, if you hadn’t been so far gone
If I shot for the sun that one Saturday evening
And walked right into the store I saw you in,
Bringing with me the haunts of old and hard feelings,
And asked you how you’ve been doing without me
If this life hadn’t tampered, meddled with, or disallowed,
Would you have been the one for me right now?








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