Adult Category - 2nd Place Winner

Congrats to Jill Talbot for winning 2nd place in the 2016 Pandora's Collective Annual Poetry Contest.

A Note Left In a Poetry Book In Detox

This is the place where time reverses
Dead men talk to all the pretty nurses...
—Elliott Smith

For the ghosts of junkie poets, past present and future: 
I was here once. Several times—

Tell me about it—Tell it to me like it’s the last thing 
you’ll ever say. Tell it to me like you’ve forgotten 
the ending. If you think you know the ending

you don’t. Smile like you don’t mean it. Bleed it out—
show me the cracks. Don’t show me the cracks 

in the frame—show me the cracks 
in the cracks. Show me the heart

of the black duckling. Show me 
your ugly duckling’s stepmother. 
Show me where it aches. 

There is value in this place 
but don’t value it too much. 
I found poetry books here once. 

Nobody left me a note, 
so I am leaving you a note, 
so I am really

leaving myself a note. I am leaving you 
everything I have. I know it doesn’t seem 
like much. Vomit it out onto a page 
all the same.

Tell me if the ceiling in the drunk tank bathroom 
has been fixed. Tell me if the methadone still tastes 

like what they gave out in elementary school Sports Day. 
Tell me if you still remember Sports Day. Tell me even if 
you don’t want to—Especially if you don’t want to.

What else are you going to do in here?

Tell me, what else are you going to do?

Jill Talbot