The Night I Asked You to Break My Heart
because the split we’d made was good for both of us, but this was two years later, hope’s long coma, which could only end if the stronger of us pulled the cord from the power source, so I packed my messenger bag with methods to rend my most important organ. steak knife, hammer, shards of broken mirror, straightjacket, guillotine in miniature, and in case we needed something more powerful, a magic book of curses. most spells are made with words and broken by a kiss; why not the other way around? I’ll spare everybody the bloody fine points of how we got it done, and how I got home, I can’t remember, but I lay a long time unable to sleep, counting, instead of sheep, ex-loves who no longer take my calls. and in the event that they would take my calls, I divided them like prison bricks into two piles: wouldn’t know what to say, and wouldn’t know how to say it. as usual, this left me spent, and in sleep, I dreamed seven dreams. I dreamed a helicopter in a hurricane, it lifts, but it’ll never get anywhere; I dreamed the waiter saw I was thirsty but would not bring water; I dreamed my brother cut himself open with a scythe in my grandfather’s garden; I dreamed I came to your birthday with a giant yellow cake, and no one turned to speak to me except your twin; I dreamed myself heaving up chunks of pink cupcake; I dreamed the world ended your way, with a single glowing solar flare, instead of my way; and I dreamed my dead wrestled your dead. I say again, my ghosts took up swords against your ghosts, and neither army had won when I twisted awake the next morning, but at least the strange man in the mirror wasn’t as ugly as I remembered.
Sex Tour of Vermont
a Golden Shovel, from “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks
I told him, pack your sex toys, but we
both already thought of that. gonna be real
cold, life-threatening temps, he said. not that he was too cool
but his alabama blood never reminded him to dress warmly. we
both bought new shirts and valentine’s gifts, left
after work on friday, got stuck in traffic behind a school
bus. four hour drive to a town where we
counted one stoplight, three liquor stores, and six lurk-
ing tweakers who smoked against stone buildings. pizza at a late
night dive, then the platform bed, the slipping and holding. next day, we
drove to shore of lake champlain, where the air struck
the surface so cold, mist rose, phones stopped working. straight
icicles of frozen breath trailed from his nose to his beard. we
held hands, ran to the car, vocalized to keep warm. he liked to sing
be my baby by the ronettes, nothing else. he liked to sin
with lights on. I’d blindfold myself and bind him to the bed, so that we
moved by feel alone. in winter and in love, men grow less thin,
our fur thickens and how long it takes to finish, we lose track. gin
made him happy, and a meatball special satisfied my belly. we
ate at the restaurant downstairs and came up after the jazz
band stopped playing just for us. I was moving out of state by june,
and we both knew that. the thing is, if we
could stop wanting what we want, we wouldn’t. we’d figure we’d die.
I want another trip to vermont, and soon.
Anthony DiPietro is a Rhode Island native who made his career working in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Notre Dame Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Anomaly, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Helen, Rogue Agent, The Southampton Review, Talking River, and Welter. His website is AnthonyWriter.com.