Wednesday, 10 November 2021


fourteen reasons to always say goodbye

by Jen Schneider

1.     i never got to say goodbye. to the man in the white tank. ribbed cotton. vertical stripes. a smile as wide as the ocean from which he/my love for him grew.

2.     i saw his footprint in the sand today. toes on souls, he’d say.

3.     i placed my sole in his and waited for the crushing wave. the ones we’d wade in, talking about things we’d like to do in/for/of the next five years

4.     scuba dives and cycle rides. travel of various degrees – far north. further west. city hopping. baby popping. tail wagging. down payments. no more basements. upward acknowledgments. butterfly wishes. afternoon kisses. lemon spritzes. sunday drives to nowhere. up coasts. down mountains. in theatres. of books. menus of letters. letters of love. diner specials from everywhere. days of nothing special. evenings of everything.

5.     thought of our lists. sketched on throw away napkins and drive through receipts. doodled on diner placemats. traced on palms of grease and backs of oil.

6.     things that made us happy - hearts of palm. palmetto trees. trees of bees. honeysuckle vines. scrabble lines. slot machine dimes. love. lovely lists. 

7.     the ones we’d compose then compile while consuming things that made our hearts ring – crosswords and curry – and our voices sing – lennon and mercury

8.     talking about things that made me/us (he often, not always, agreed) angry – incarceration rates, feuding states. states of suspension. days in detention.

9.     pondering things that he/we (I often, not always, agreed) found interesting – me. us. education baits, soulmates. historic dates. unknown fates.

10.  why wait, he’d say. too many reasons to count.

11.  i sat in the sand and counted. waves. gulls. children. shells. grills. sandy hills. unpaid bills.

12.  then counted letters. letters in bottles. on ice cream trucks. on chair backs. on bare backs.

13.  anything to forget when I could only remember.

14.  i never got to say goodbye. to the man in the white tank.


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Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She is a Best of the Net nominee, with stories, poems, and essays published in a wide variety of literary and scholarly journals. She is the author of Invisible Ink (Toho Pub), On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility (forthcoming, Moonstone Press), and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups (forthcoming Atmosphere Press).

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