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Irene Burrows

 Irene Burrows busts rhymes and breaks things (yet surprisingly never any bones). She aspires to inspire anyone in anything, hopefully in another country while bumming around and teaching English after college. In her spare time, she nuzzles strangers furiously, makes horrifyingly owner-specific calendars by hand, and chews on cat ears, despite being allergic to fur. Her only real jobs involved scaring children and operating spotlights. She can take any defining life moment and find a parallel to Pokémon, sometimes while licking a Metro-North train, because she’s good like that. Whenever she hears the word “syntax”, she comes.

Still Frames

I only have three regrets in life:
giving up on the clarinet in fifth grade,
giving away my copy of Final Fantasy Tactics
(to the first guy I ever kissed),
and not taking more pictures while we were still together.

Five months and only one photograph—
in a generation full of Facebook fiends,
you’d think there’d be more evidence of our love.

I wish I could see what we looked like
doing Tai Chi in our underwear,
listening to Shakespeare or tUnE-yArDs,
cuddled in a heap of limbs.
I wish I knew what people saw from the outside looking in.

My most treasured memory
is the first time we brushed our teeth together.
If only we were fourteen-year-olds on MySpace
there’d be a mirror pic of toothpaste kisses;
we’d make the lens minty-fresh and blurry.

The only photo that exists of us
is a candid from right before we started dating.
You told me to dance with you.
I said, “No! I move like molasses.”
You grabbed my hands, wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

This moment is preserved as well as any mummy.
This moment is dead like any ancient pharaoh.

We might be better off as faded memories,
for when I rub my grubby digits
along the fragile film strip of our friendship,
I muck up all the negatives
‘til I can’t make out any positives without squinting.

We are nothing if not smudges.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words,
but even if I gave you a million poems,
we’d still only have one photo.

We were too busy loving each other
to point, click, or shoot anything.
Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, but still—
it would’ve been nice to have more
tangible smiles to hold onto.
At the very least, our love wasn’t disposable.

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