about the author

James Best is a writer working in television in New York. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Valerie, and their terminally ill bonsai, Moonlight Graham. His work is published or forthcoming in Comstock Review, South Carolina Review, RATTLE, Cold Mountain Review, and OxMag.

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Missing Person Report

James Best

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You buy two of everything,
have extra at meals.
The echo of your voice seems too much
like an answer.
Your childhood bed was the top half
of a bunk and below, you knew
was unrealized space.
You call him Camera 2.
Sometimes when you travel in groups,
you ask if anyone is missing
because it feels like that.
It’s not even a sadness you can sound.
You didn’t know him.
Literally, you were just roommates,
dorming together in a cramped red tent.
You both moved out on the same day,
and only one of you cried.
But why yesterday,
did you keep the park bench open,
did you tell the stranger:
I’m waiting for someone.
You’ve listened to the heart of another,
with your wrist to your other ear.
There’s some home in that.
It is silly to miss anyone you didn’t know,
even blood. But what a chance.
To have a parallel you, to own two minds,
to never have to say Do you understand?
Because both of you do. Because you can’t
help being each other.
In the mornings, you cross your eyes in the mirror,
see how it could have been.

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