Two Poems

By: Courtney LeBlanc

21 Ways to End a Poem or Leave Your Lover

  1. Board the plane. Don’t look back at the departure gate, just walk down the jetway, store your carry-on and find your seat.
  2. Make it big and dramatic. Hire a sky writer. Send a dozen roses with the heads cut off. Tattoo his name with a line drawn straight through it.
  3. Stop talking to him. No explanation, no goodbye, no Dear John note scrawled in ink. Just silence.
  4. Be cliché. Lipstick a message in your favorite color across the mirror. Let your final kiss be on glass instead of her lips.
  5. Speak only in metaphor. Compare your lover to the wildfires that rage through forests, destroying everything in their path till they run out of oxygen or kindling. You are the kindling. She is the fire. And also the oxygen.
  6. Tell her I don’t love you, even if you do.
  7. Cut his image from every picture, slice them into confetti and the next time you want to call him, throw it into the air. Vacuum the floors instead of picking up your phone.
  8. Listen to your favorite Ani DiFranco songs. Sing them loudly with the windows down and the volume up.
  9. Forbid anyone to say his name. Strike it from your vocabulary, delete him from you lexicon.
  10. Imagine she’s stuck on an island and you’ll never see her again. Imagine her shipwrecked. Imagine her as a shipwreck, sunk in the blue-green depths and home only to barnacles and seaweed.
  11. Do it just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Kiss a stranger instead.
  12. Show up at his doorstep at 2am with a bottle of champagne. Fuck him till the sun starts to peak from behind the buildings. Drink the champagne with burned toast. Drop the bottle in the recycling when you leave.
  13. Gather everything he ever gave you and burn it in the backyard. Dance naked around the flames. When the fire department shows up, kiss every firefighter in thanks.
  14. Move into a new apartment, one with no memories of her – where she pressed you against a wall, where she fucked you in the sun-drenched living room. Leave no forwarding address.
  15. Take a trip by yourself. Explore a country where you don’t speak the language. Kiss a stranger who can’t pronounce your name.
  16. Adopt the dog she never wanted. Give it her middle name. Let it sleep in the bed beside you.
  17. Go see his favorite band without him. If you can, fuck the lead singer. If you can’t, settle for the drummer. Post pictures with the band on social media. Tag him.
  18. Kiss him like someone who has learned a foreign language but only the present tense and only 2nd person: only now, only you.
  19. Break up with him on his birthday. Bake him a cake and in tiny candies spell out across the top: Happy Birthday, it’s over!
  20. Hold her hand and tell her you just can’t anymore. Cry as both your hearts break.
  21. Like this.

*Title is borrowed from a blog post by Alina Stefanescer
*Much of #18 is borrowed from the novel Less by Andrew Sean Greer


The last day in Paris he fell

sick, the flu. Equally fevered

and chilled, he said, Go, enjoy

the day. Every day that week

we breakfasted at the same

corner café, the same waiter

bringing us lattes and croissants.

That morning I sat watching

people walk by and tried flirting

in my high school French. He didn’t

ask about my missing husband, just

touched my hand gently when giving

me the bill. From there I wandered,

found my way to the Rodin

museum. Stood before marble

that looked soft as flesh. In two

weeks he will leave, pull out

the suitcase used on this trip

and pack for a different adventure,

one with a studio apartment

and the extra pots and pans taken

from our kitchen. We were pretending

still and didn’t know this would

become a reverse honeymoon –

the trip to celebrate the end.

I found a sun-drenched bench

and sat journaling, writing, Today

has been my best day in this city

and detailing the warm crepe au

chocolate I ate for lunch, the velvety

red wine I drank. Eventually I

returned to the hotel, found my

fevered husband sleeping. I packed

our suitcases, swaddling the replica

of the Eiffel Tower. He’ll take

that with him, though he said

he didn’t like the city, the trip.

By then it was really me he

didn’t like. After he’s gone I’ll reread

my journal, remember that my favorite

Rodin sculpture is Eternal Springtime,

which depicts two lovers in a tangled

embrace. The sculpture was intended

to be part of Rodin’s Gates of Hell.

Courtney LeBlanc is the author of the full length collections Exquisite Bloody, Beating Heart (Riot in Your Throat) and Beautiful & Full of Monsters (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press). She is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Riot in Your Throat, an independent poetry press. She loves nail polish, tattoos, and a soy latte each morning. Read her publications on her blog: Follow her on twitter: @wordperv, and IG: @wordperv79.