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Image by Patrick Hendry

After the Ex
By Hester L Furey

In the nectar hour, amid owl song, a dreamer

finds herself flying over rimed prairie,

returning to a town where she used to live,

which is all the towns where she used to live,

searching for the man she loved for so long.

Making her way in the dark, she feels certain

this is the neighborhood. He is close, now.

I can feel it. But, as is always the way,

the path goes sideways, winds through

the landlord’s bedroom, where Dick Gregory,

with trippy purple wallpaper, sits up

feeling chatty, watching TV with his daughter.


The dreamer follows the daughter through

the rambling house’s turns back on itself,

the doors that will hardly open. No ex

in sight. Instead they meet a cat

who lost its tail to frostbite:

bobbed, imbalanced, pitiful.

The dreamer says, I’d like to go back out now.

Is there another way? The guide puts on her hat.

A turn sets the little mermaid’s tail chiming

against the lamp’s long cylinder; the dreamer

hears the rain, single drops gently falling on the roof,

and a tree, with its own rhythm, brushes the house.

Another turn, and there is St. Lazarus in the window.

He gives her a wink. The tree whispers,

Beloved. Welcome. I have missed you.

Image by Amelia Bartlett

Hester L. Furey is a poet and literary historian specializing in hidden histories and archival research. Furey has published many poems and essays in journals and encyclopedias. Representative full length works include a book of poems, Skeleton Woman Buys the Ticket (2019) and a reference book she compiled and edited, Dictionary of Literary Biography 345: American Radical and Reform Writers, Second Series. She lives in Atlanta with her black cat, Skillet.

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