How to Deal with an Ex by Pat Hanahoe-Dosch


You are not dead.
But I am laying you out, not embalmed,
but empty of all blood and movement,
stretched flat for viewing in biodegradable wood,
dressed in last weekend’s suit and tie:
what we did. What we didn’t.
Let your arms rest just so, crossed
over your chest, the one I lay my head on
to listen to your heart as it slowed its rapid beating.
I am not burying you, but
cremating your memories in such a conflagration
I will never be able to look at you again, no matter what temptation,
not even a sealed space, full of nothing.
I will say no prayer, no eulogy.
Eventually even this memory will distill before the wind,
a swirl of dust and ash across a river’s surface.
When I see you in the street, you will be
just another ghost passing through,
looking for a medium who doesn’t exist.




Pat Hanahoe-Dosch  has an MFA from the University of Arizona and is currently an Associate Professor of English at Harrisburg Area Community College, Lancaster campus. Her poems have been published in The Atticus Review, Confrontation, The Red River Review, San Pedro River Review, Red Ochre Lit, Nervous Breakdown, Quantum Poetry Magazine, The Paterson Literary Review, Abalone Moon, Switched-on Gutenberg, and the anthology Paterson: The Poets’ City, among others. Her book, Fleeing Back (FutureCycle Press), is available through She considers poetry her greatest passion and the only thing she has every truly committed to in her life (though she tells her friends and family she is working on developing her ability to commit to people).


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