1. We sit on the banks of the river on the last day of summer. The drought has left only a trickle down the center of the dry river bed, so there is no sound of water to distract us from the words hanging between us. Nothing will be final until one of us walks away.
  2. We arrive at a pool party hosted by your coworker. After starving myself to fit into a bikini, I need only three watery cocktails to trip and fall into the pool. You leave, embarrassed, and your boss has to drive me home.
  3. We stand near the confluence of two rivers in the middle of the country as we roadtrip from one coast to the other. Silence for miles, followed by sharp words stabbing each other until we’re hollowed out. The next day we’re overly polite, as if we just met.
  4. We keep returning to each other, a bit out of love, but mostly out of fear. We’re more miserable apart than we are together, we tell ourselves, holding space until someone better comes along.
  5. We end for good standing next to the ocean. Giving up like a bloody boxer who can’t take another round. The tears you try to hide taste like the sea as I kiss you goodbye.


Jen McConnell

Jen McConnell has published prose and poetry in more than forty literary magazines, and her work has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. Her current work can be found in Does it Have Pockets?, Bridge Eight, and the tiny journal. Her first story collection, “Welcome, Anybody,” was published in 2012. Learn more at jenmcconnell.com.

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