Kendra Whitfield | 3 Poems

The afternoon before you died
we lay in bed eating popsicles

and watching football.
I showed you how to work Tinder and

You taught me how to swipe left,
just by looking at their eyes.

You told me about Vietnam,
taking fire in evaccing choppers,

arm-wrestling in Saigon bars.
We traded stories about Mom and

complaints about Dad.
You pined for a rum and Coke,

I promised to sneak one past
your teetotalitarian wife

You laughed, even though it hurt.
When day melted into night,

I kissed your forehead
and said goodbye.

You said “See you tomorrow”
and I believed your lie.

Crocodile Tears


A piñata that looks like my ex-husband’s head hangs from the cherry tree in the backyard. The tree is blooming for the first time since he planted it, years ago, on the Mother’s Day right after our baby died. I whack at it with the aluminum baseball bat he gave me to protect myself on nights when he wasn’t home. He was always home. Until he wasn’t. First, I knock off the piñata’s glasses, then its silly bowler hat. Next, I aim for the crooked teeth in the crooked grin that once charmed me but now haunts my nightmares. I miss. My next blow lands squarely on his goateed chin and bees fly out of the piñata. They are not angry at being hit; they are happy to be free. They dance in the cherry blossoms and wave at me while they feast.

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