By Sam Moe

Finally, the past has corroded. No more black-and-blue ribeye, prime rib coated in dozens of spices, gloved hands and the promise of milk crates. The buttons on your shirt are getting old and dangling like loose eyes, your hands still contain a precision but I won’t see it, no more hothouse tomatoes in the afternoons or boats of iceberg lettuce, scooped then filled with creamy dressing and sprinkled with bacon, goodbye to the ramekins full of hot fudge, goodbye to love and all that. Cassoulet or maybe duck confit and the time you told me you didn’t like being compared to a violent person. This was never about lump crab or braised lamb shanks, fried sage, those delicate slices of salmon as orange as early sun, do you ever think of why I left, do you still know the recipe to béarnaise like you knew my middle name and then some, do you regret the loss, did you know a rum cake is only as good as its baker. In summertime I was melting, scooping bites of mudpie where the crust met the syrup, we laughed over toasted almonds and my hatred had not yet originated for you. Whoops, let’s frost the coconut, turn rhubarb to tart, everyone knows I can’t eat but I understand the difference between buttercream and cheesecake, I know a good drizzle when I see it. I miss talking about peanut butter and buckwheat. You miss asking what I was wearing. Lately I have stepped away, away, far away from the abuse. We talk about what happened over crepes and fried potatoes. No one asks questions and I don’t offer clarity on healing. But what about marshmallow cream and gooseberry? The times we said goodbye in the rain and our cars were sticky with bugs. Once in a great while I return to the old place, bright as jam, its insides still red as blood.


Sam Moe is the author of three poetry collections, including Cicatrizing the Daughters (FlowerSong Press, forthcoming Winter 2024), Grief Birds (Bullshit Lit, 2023), Heart Weeds (Alien Buddha Press), and the chapbook Animal Heart (Harvard Square Press 2024). Her short story collection, I Might Trust You is forthcoming from Experiments in Fiction (Winter 2024). She has received fellowships from the Longleaf Writer’s Conference and the Key West Literary Seminar and an artist residency from Château d’Orquevaux.

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