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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 Valente.JPG

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.

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