Coffee House Get-Together With An Ex


We meet in a coffee house

after ten years apart.

In our conversation,

those ten years

and our two together

jostle for attention.


You’ve met someone.

You’ve settled down.

But you still love Hendrix.

And the beach remains

your Mother Earth.


Meanwhile, I’ve remarried.

No kids so no need to bore

you with their details.

We have our own home.

Your meager apartment gets a complex

so I stay away from how many rooms,

the size of our backyard.


We don’t touch upon

why it didn’t work.

We just extract moments

from when it was working,

pretend that was all of it.


And the intervening times

catch a break.

No imagining what it

would be like if we had shared them.

Despite the laughs,

an occasional tear,

those ten years remain intact.


You look older,

slightly wiser.

I’ve some gray

to give my heartbeat pause.


I’ve enjoyed this time together.

If I could turn back the clock,

it’d be the one on the wall.


Beyond The Wish List


The last year was murder.

Every night, another argument,

two heads going at it,

two hearts begging for mercy.

Weary, one of us would walk,

one drive, at a good pace

in opposite direction,

until sleep hauled us back

to be temporarily communal.


By day at least, we kept

ourselves at arm’s length.

I worked the factory

with radio at full blast,

one heavy metal

in deafening conflict with another.

You tended a second hand book store,

selling rough copies of

Dos Passos and Fitzgerald

between sipping lattes

from the coffee house next door.

Without the other around,

we could work on strengthening our cause.


I saved one photograph from the dumpster,

two of us on a beach,

me rubbing oil into your back.

Now my fingers are on the east coast,

your shoulder blades keep to the west.

But just the other day,

I saw someone who looked like you.

I thought that was your job.

And your yearly email,

I read at least three times.

I give you an 8 out of 10 for happiness.

My mark is roughly 7.


To be honest,

without lawyers and wedged apart

by flyover country,

we’re actually quite a couple.

Not that I wish us back together.

But there’s other wishes where that came from.


by John Grey


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