by Julie Bihn
I took you for granted, glancing at you every day.
I started to appreciate you--your beauty, your careful, sensitive attitude.
The way you were always there, playing your guitar intently.
Of course I couldn't tell you.
Yet I felt I almost knew you, from watching, even though you never once looked back at me.
I watched you as you grew old and wrinkled.
Somehow I hoped someone would fix you up, heal your breaking body.
Iron out the wrinkles in your skin.
Once it looked like someone did.
But you still grew older.
Your clothes became more tattered, their colors faded.
And one day, you were gone.
I felt as if I had heard one of my classmates had died.
I'd never see you again, except in my mind.
A perky, smiling woman took your place.
A woman who I've never seen without a cigarette in her hand.
That abomination is all over town, places where you had been, and places you've never seen.
Every time I see her I get angry, and think longingly of you.
You were replaced by the spokeswoman for lung cancer?
I somehow hope to see you somewhere else, unchanged.
But it's always that awful woman.
And even if I did see you, I know it wouldn't be the same as it used to be.
But if you came back, I swear, I'd never take you for granted again.
Funny how a simple billboard can evoke more feelings than most people can.
Copyright Julie Bihn 1997
Please do not modify or duplicate without my permission.
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