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Wishing You the Best (in the Worst Way)

Poetry, Maggie Rue Hess

It was Sunday night when we decided to stop disappointing

each other after all, after the last year of our decade

became the worst. Monday had the weight of the unspoken.

I woke up angry the next three mornings, lectured the mirror and

the steering wheel and the kitchen sink just to use my voice.

I listed every emotion I felt and labeled where in the body

I felt them: none of it was sadness. Rain was the weather,

not a metaphor, but I loved it anyway. There was so much

music. There was not enough distraction. There was the

feeling that I only owed myself an apology now, at last.

On Friday, I gave away the plant that grew from your cutting:

an angel wing begonia that didn’t deserve my grudge.

The new owner asked if I had named it; I had, but I insisted

that she would pick something better. Honest to goodness,

everything went well enough for me to believe I was right

all along – I didn’t lose you, but someone you couldn’t help

becoming. At night, to fall asleep, I imagined my pain as a desert.

Each grain of sand carried off by the wind took my hurt with it.


Maggie Rue Hess (she/her) is a graduate student living in Knoxville, Tennessee, with her partner and their two crusty white dogs. Her work has previously appeared in Rattle, Minnesota Review, Connecticut River Review, and other publications; her debut chapbook, The Bones That Map Us, is forthcoming from Belle Point Press in 2024. She likes to share baked goods with friends, and you can find her shenanigans on Instagram: @maggierue_


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