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Poetry By
  Nilofer Neubert

Published on: 10/16/2013
A Tanka For My Secondary School Best Friend

I'm sorry for not
being honest with you in
our letters. Should
have pasted photos of black
hearts instead of cute boy bands.

Published on: 10/9/2013
The Phantom Boyfriend

He first announced his appearance
in the middle of the night when my fourteen year old soul
wondered why she was the one pinning hearts on boys
who had eyes only for life-sized pin up girls
after Nancy Drew failed to tuck me in.
With closed eyes,
I kissed my tear stained pillow the way
I wished the boy who walked out of Math class earlier would kiss me.

He was there when I was eighteen
for the explosion of my inner pressure cooker,
constantly reminding me that no boy was
hot for my lips.

He was there when I was nineteen
for my desperate play:
First Kiss.
The lead actor:
a boy who didn't go on his knees for me
a boy who didn't turn up for his second act.

He was there when I was twenty-two
for the drama between
the plane,
my first boyfriend who took my heart to England.
Dressed in the boyfriend's black hoodie,
he swallowed me
with his invisible arms,
drowning in the musk of the unwashed security
my boyfriend wore from nineteen till twenty-two.

He was there when I was twenty-three
for the return journey of my heart.
Though he barely absorbed her tears,
he was smart enough to gag her
before she sang a regrettable opera.

He was there when I was twenty-five
for my second long distance relationship
Each night being miles away made it
harder to hold onto the notes of a skype musical.
His skinless hugs gave me rocks to hold onto.

At twenty-six,
He cradles me from the birth of sleep
till the micro second my husband
comes home from his daily shifts at the restaurant.

Once he sees the man who was chosen over him,
my phantom boyfriend unwraps me,
hides in the chest of drawers beside my side of the bed,
waiting patiently,
till he's needed again.

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