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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 11, Number 3, September 2017

Connie R. Meester
West Des Moines, Iowa, USA


As I undress for the venous ultrasound, I wonder if the radiology tech is terse with me because she recognizes my name—connects it with the doctor, with our divorce, with my new status as castoff, with some rumor that may be circulating her work area.

against the back door
I fall into his house
not even my shadow
feels welcome here

Once the tests are finished, before my release, I pace the waiting area. There he is: walking briskly right past me, dressed in the blue cashmere coat and scarf I picked out for him. A tall, slender blonde with her hair loosely piled upon her head, hands animated in conversation, is at his side.

the corners
of his lips curl,
his head tilts down . . .
this shy schoolboy,
my husband of 35 years

He doesn't notice me. He doesn't recognize my scent, although he should, having passed so close. A part of me wants to call out to him, tell him to pick up dinner for us; or hey, let's catch a movie.

grasping my keys
as I would a dagger
I discover his car
parked close to mine—
same model, different colors

Back home I open a note. In it, he explains that the offer he made to duplicate our photo albums, a set for each of us and our children, "is no longer reasonable."

as if he's a man
who keeps his agreements
he returns
our family memories
in plastic containers

The years we shared spin around me as if they are happening now. My first impression of him in that college botany class, when I knew "this man will be trouble," and how I immediately fell in love with him. My decision after our wedding to give up a scholarship for advanced education—so I could support the two of us during his years of medical training. I have vivid recall of each birth, the bright colors of celebrations and Caribbean vacations, the joy of graduations, and the happy sorrows when our children moved on into their own lives. My head fills with the moments lost when my husband put his practice before us. Regrettably, I misunderstood his language of jewelry and flowers.

parting, he says
I never got your poetry
I whisper
that's because it was
all about you

After 18 months of divorce, he writes that he can no longer honor our financial agreement. I picture him pondering this action, wearing a face of concern, slumping his shoulders for the shame of it.

silent autumn morning—
while I record dreams
a hawk's flight
catches my eye, reminds me
you were just passing through



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