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Crossword
By Francine Witte


He left it on the table. Unfinished. All the sports clued filled in. He used ink so I can’t change anything. 

Some of the letters are smudged. But I can make out the words. At least it’s something. Now that we hardly speak. At least it’s something. 

One across is empty. Five across is Mantle. Famous Yankee. Even I know that. 

The last time we spoke, there were questions about flowers on his debit card bills. Why did I open it was all he said. I told him I never got the flowers. Why is that? I wanted to know. 

After that, I tried harder. Wore lipstick. Made love like a wild animal. But I could have been doing my nails. Could have been painting them red and sorry just like my lips.  

I pick up the paper. 24 across is mostly filled in. Drips of letters from the down clues. 

These days, when he does speak, he says things like “we are out of cereal,” or “divorce is expensive.” 

I look again at 24 across. I squint at it to catch it off guard. If I stop asking it, maybe it will just decide to tell me.
Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks, two flash fiction chapbooks, and the full-length poetry collections Café Crazy (Kelsay Books) and the forthcoming The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books) Her play, Love is a Bad Neighborhood, was produced in NYC this past December. She lives in NYC. .