Joanna C. Valente
The End Is Never the End
When he left Diane for some small
town on the northwest, she knew she’d never
see him as him again.
Maybe his voice would be
the same but his name would become
many names, no names she wanted
to recognize as his but what are names
anyway when we can’t find the trees
in the forest, when the sunny side of the street
isn’t sunny anymore, was never sunny
to begin with, just illusion by some giant
in another dimension she’s never been to.
This will be the last time, he tells her
knowing it won’t be the last time so he keeps
talking to her through a tape recorder
never sending half the tapes. He isn’t lying
to her but can’t bear to tell her
the truth about making love
in a hotel bedroom and she calls out
another name that isn’t his anymore
and maybe it never was and he can’t bear
to tell her that when they both
orgasm, finally, at the same time,
it’s no time at all.
He dreams of a day where her head
explodes into a computer or maybe a forest
full of dead trees or into a cricket’s legs
and he won’t say goodbye to her because
one of his bodies, the one she knows,
will be stuck in another time with another woman
he was trying to save and maybe that last car
ride Diane whispered in his ear, women don’t need you
to save them. Like most men, he wasn’t listening.
Joanna C. Valente is a human who lives in Brooklyn, New York. They are the author of Sirs & Madams (Aldrich Press, 2014), The Gods Are Dead (Deadly Chaps Press, 2015), Marys of the Sea (Operating System, 2017), Sexting Ghosts (Unknown Press, 2018), Xenos (Agape Editions, 2016) and the editor of A Shadow Map: Writing by Survivors of Sexual Assault (CCM, 2017). They received their MFA in writing at Sarah Lawrence College. Joanna is the founder of Yes Poetry and the managing editor for Luna Luna Magazine. Some of their writing has appeared in Brooklyn Magazine, Prelude, BUST, Spork Press and elsewhere. Joanna also leads workshops at Brooklyn Poets.