Erica Bernheim


Toward the end, it was sex with an expense
account. We sat together at a small restaurant
in a large city with several libraries. It was said
that we looked like a couple, our hands like meat-

balls cut in half, the lives we never lived flashing
before our eyes. Sometimes you were a chemist,
so I worked in a bank. We kept and ate eleven
guinea fowl every summer in the Azores. We

had no problems. We watched buildings exploding
in slow motions; we rode in a private elevator for beef,               
made plans in advance to find hairs in the mousse.
We arrived late for golf, became drunk in the players'

clubhouse. Once, we were those judges who released
everyone, saved the least profoundly devastated.
There are photos: you with a fork in your leg, standing
in front of a lumberyard, holding a menu with over

250 types of hot dogs. It becomes one of those
nights in which everyone begins to look like
that actor. We didn't plan on doing it there, you
understand.      Sir, please put down your weapon.





This poem is about spending the summer in Chicago and watching a romantic relationship die, but in a city with so many wonderful distractions that the breaking up seems like a museum exhibit or concert, something you can observe and have an opinion about, but then walk away from and dismiss. [Here] is a good place to realize that you are no longer in love.