by Paul Griner
99 words


Your incompletely trashed “I’m leaving you” draft.

Leaving first.

Believing that, far enough away, I couldn’t be ditched.

Eight hours, twenty-seven Mai-Tais.

Meeting Sulani on number twenty-three.

Proposing to Sulani.

Marrying Sulani, wearing borrowed blue shorts and a new, painful nose ring on a Bali beach.

The one-eared priest.

The bible-holding, iridescent green monkey.

Calling you, exultant.

A hangover, with open windows and clacking palm trees.

My useless heart, which contracts and expands.

Tears, after Sulani, ear pressed to my chest beneath her warm fanned hair, listened to that two-beat rhythm and asked in accented English, Who’s Sarah?

Paul Griner has published two books with Random House, Follow Me (stories) and Collectors (a novel). His third book, the novel The German Woman, will be out with Houghton Mifflin this June. His work has been translated into half a dozen languages and appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Southeast Review, Bomb, Zoetrope, Story, and Juked, among others. He is the Director of Creative Writing at the University of Louisville.

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