For My 1st Ex-Lover to Die

By Francesca Bell

I heard this morning my old lover died, and I cannot say I loved him, though I may have said it at the time, cannot say he was a good person or lover or anything other than a man who called me in the small hours, driving back roads drunk in his Ferrari, when I was 23 and he was 50, who bought me books and a Lalique clock that’s been broken 20 years, who was the dumbest smart person I ever knew, crying in his car at 4 in the morning, wearing a coyote skin coat that reached to his shoes,

and I didn’t want his money or his cocaine or to be his 7th wife, and I’ve seldom thought of him except to remember a dark animal crossing his driveway at night, and the 2 staircases in his grand house, going up, going down, and how I held him, deep in my body, and he made a small, sad sound.


Francesca Bell’s poetry appears or is forthcoming in many journals, including burntdistrict, Flycatcher, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, and Zone 3. Her work has been nominated six times for the Pushcart Prize, and she won the 2014 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle. You can visit her website here

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