She’s on threesies
when he asks again,
What do you mean, divorce?
This time she stops,
her face as red as the
little ball in her hand,
different, she says,
because she doesn’t know.

Cart before the horse, she calls,
picks up two jacks, then four
then four; palm trees rustle
in the afternoon breeze.
Everything’s gonna be different.
She scoops five, but next toss,
the ball slips,
bounces down the steps,
across the sidewalk,
into the street.

The two of them sit
on the concrete porch,
the radio hisses
in the brittle house.
They stay there
till the sky grows dark,
till the world growls
underfoot, as if
the ground might split—fault lines
becoming fissures then chasms,
the sidewalk unzipping between them,
wider and wider, until their fingers
no longer touch.

Melody Wilson teaches in Portland, Oregon. Recent work appears in Quartet, Briar Cliff Review, Cirque, Amsterdam Quarterly and The Shore. Upcoming work will be in Tar River Poetry, Whale Road Review, Timberline Review, and SWWIM. Her work can also be seen at