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Parting Reflection by Sarah Marquez

It has been so cold,

poppies refuse to unfurl over green stems.

Afternoon light bends out of view &

a black moon takes hold of the evening.

You & I are standing. in the sand.

My face is cold. Your neck is too.

Neither of us says a word…

We walk down the beach, to the water’s edge,

sample bitter spindrift.

You tell me to take it all in…

But I see your deep eyes

fixed on the wind breaking the ocean apart,

into waves that swim far out & disappear.

I know you want to be one of them–

always moving on, meeting the horizon.


Later, we sit in the circle of a campfire.

I’ve been waiting in the firelit dark to ask you why

you want to abandon the place you are.

You stretch forth an inked hand, a pattern of blue-gray wings.

Your smile says come with me. This way, we both survive the parting.

I hear the lie hissing around your teeth.

I see the head of the snake dancing. in the shadows.

Still, I think it over.


I think I’d rather be torn from you,

from everything you gave me–

new words,

sound syllables,

shattered illusions,

than return to bending down

to build you up.

Best friend,

heart that heard the voice

the others cut their ears off to.


On the drive home we listen to Trent Dabbs,

his guitar lamenting The Odds of Being Alone.

You turn it up. & I realize this car ride is the last one.

I will never see

palm trees splitting open the sky,

the backs of mountains, the same way again.

The window catches me staring,

wondering the worth of my reflection–

a version of me divided from you.


Sarah Marquez is an MA candidate as Southern New Hampshire University. She has work in Marías at Sampaguitas and MID-HEAVEN REVIEW, and work forthcoming in Amethyst Review, Anthropocene, Headcanon Magazine, and Crêpe & Penn. When not writing, she can be found reading, sipping coffee, or tweeting @Sarahmarissa338. 


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