PoetryIssue 13 | September 2011

Meeting An Old Lover

by Paige Riehl

In Australia I’m jet lagged and waiting on the hotel bed
trying not to mess my hair and wondering what he’ll think:

thirteen more years sketched around my eyes, thirteen more pounds,
at least, circling my waist and hips. When I turn the corner

in the lobby, he smiles, hugs me, says my name as if it’s a memento,
and then This is weird and we both laugh because it is. On the ferry

to Manly Beach, he raises his arm and points, my tour guide.
When we hike up a path near the sea and I take off my jacket,

he sees my scarred arm and touches it, just for a moment,
says, I’m remembering now as if I am emerging slowly from

an ocean of women. In the sunlight we stare at the Pacific cold and deep;
thirteen years ago it was Scotland and the rainy Atlantic. Over beers

we talk about teaching and I can look at him—his hair
short and dark, not the long summer’s blond I remember

more insurance salesman than rock star, me more mother
than world traveler. He says he reads the story I published

about us at least once a year, finds the journal whenever
he moves, his claim to fame. He’s still unmarried, childless,

desires neither, his parents finally divorcing, a gift, he says. I think
of my husband and son at home, our backyard of flowers

and I feel myself letting go of something, as if releasing a breath
I didn’t even know I’d been holding.

About the author

Paige Riehl is accident prone, having accidentally boiled all her whites with one black sock in Ireland, swam above a shark in the Great Barrier Reef, consumed tap water in Morocco, and backpacked around seventeen countries. You can find her poetry now or forthcoming in publications such as Avatar Review, Blood Orange Review, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, and Word Riot, to name a few.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok