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Poem of the day

September 2, 2010

Getting Out

That year we hardly slept, walking like inmates
who beat the walls. Every night
another refusal, the silent work
of tightening the heart.
Exhausted, we gave up; escaped
to the apartment pool, swimming those laps
until the first light relieved us.

Days were different: FM and full-blast
blues, hours of guitar “you gonna miss me
when I’m gone.” Think how you tried
to pack up and go, for weeks stumbling
over piles of clothing, the unstrung tennis rackets.
Finally locked into blame, we paced
that short hall, heaving words like furniture.

I have the last unshredded pictures
of our matching eyes and hair. We’ve kept
to separate sides of the map,
still I’m startled by men who look like you.
And in the yearly letter, you’re sure to say
you’re happy now. Yet I think of the lawyer’s bewilderment
when we cried, the last day. Taking hands
we walked apart, until our arms stretched
between us. We held on tight, and let go.

–Cleopatra Mathis

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Apple permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:56 pm


  2. julie permalink
    September 4, 2010 3:27 pm


    We also cried on our divorce day, in front of the judge, as we were signing. Then we went out for pizza together. Said goodbye again, cried again through smiles, and it was done.

    And it was the right decision.

  3. cherylc permalink
    September 6, 2010 2:21 pm

    This is quite possibly the saddest poem I’ve ever read, and I might even be missing the point, because I’ve never been divorced. It really stuck with me however.

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