She sits on the chair where one day she will say goodbye to him. In a place with many
uneven floors. No one should have to live with heartache for long or count the winks
her lover gave to another woman. She bleached the flowers, chewed meat where he
slept with others, and soaked his clothes in dusty water. She stripped until she reached
her underwear, a comma followed by a pause, and said, Search me for an afterglow, a
chill. And knew at that moment, when a man offers you life and you know its hell, resist.
It’s fucked up but be faithful—don’t stop breathing the light out of your dark even if it’s
accustomed to sadness. Where in the bible did it say we have to stay poor?

Nathalie Handalwas raised in Latin America, France and the Arab world. She is the author of numerous books, most recently the critically acclaimed Poet in Andalucía, which Alice Walker lauds as “poems of depth and weight and the sorrowing song of longing and resolve,” and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the 2011 Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award, which The New York Times says is “a book that trembles with belonging (and longing).” Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, The Guardian, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Ploughshares. Handal is a Lannan Foundation Fellow, winner of the Alejo Zuloaga Order in Literature 2011, and Honored Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award, among other honors. She writes the literary travel column The City and the Writer for Words without Borders.