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.
“Grief can turn you into a monster, with claws and matted hair and a triangle-tipped tail. I lived as a monster during a period of major loss, and she wrote many poems.”