At the funeral, his other former girlfriend gives the eulogy. I sit in the pew.
Sitting in front of me, and behind me, and also to both sides, are more other former girlfriends.
Something heartfelt shared by Ex on the Mic sets off a chorus of sniffles among the Exes in Rows. They tuck their hair behind their little ears.
There are so many different people to hate, so I keep things simple and hate everyone.
I know why he picked me, a novelty.
I wore Mary Janes and high-neck dresses and labeled the shelves “Tuna and Nuts” and “Breakfast Items, Soup.” My hair was always squeaky clean.
Now I am someone entirely new.
A black dog, a broken heart.
I revel in being more like him now.
At home, I put on my sunglasses and turn off the lights.
Sitting on the toilet where light can’t peek through, I pretend the plunger’s a white cane. My chin held too high and to the side, I run through gruesome imitations of anger, contempt, disgust, sadness, surprise.
The world will be unsettled.
I will unsettle them.
Copyright © 2023 by Leigh Lucas. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 3, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.
My father’s last breath is still the blade
that pares and cleaves me open.
From the wound I cradle every beautiful thing:
my friends’ laughter havocking the moonless night
cricket song spilling from an unfinished building.
In my hands the pastel rind of a grapefruit
plucked from the neighbor’s tree
sour blush of its fruit plush beneath my nail’s parting.
How to live knowing all of this will one day join him in the dirt
and he will never see me beneath palm and palo verde:
my fingers long and lithe as his
ripping pith from fruit.
I slurp the good and bitter juice,
drinking enough for both of us.
Each night I’ll tell him what he’s missed:
The tree’s golden litter of leaves
the mourning doves’ daily song
rung from branches thrust against the winter sky
too blue and too bright to bear.
Copyright © 2023 by Jade Cho. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 10, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.