AFTER A MONTH, WE MEET FOR DINNER by Francine Witte

First thing I notice, new haircut, the grays dyed clean away.

I’m careful with my words. Nice shirt, I finally say.

I’m aware he never dressed this nice for me.  I found it in my closet, he says.

The waitress brings a basket of bread.

You look good, he says.  I can smell the scratches on his neck.  They smell like blood and sex and another woman.

Would you like some bread? I ask.

Cutting down, he says, pointing to his stomach, flatter than I recall.

The waitress returns, and we order small.  Nothing that will take too long.

The bread is piled high in the basket.  The smell is filling up the air between us.  When I look at him again, he has the eyes of a ghost.

My shoulders sink, and I grab a piece of bread.  I bite into it, final and hard, because, frankly, it lets me.


Francine Witte's poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, Passages North, and many others. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and (The Theory of Flesh.) Her chapbook, The Cake, The Smoke, The Moon (flash fiction) will be published by ELJ September, 2021. She lives in NYC.

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

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