This is the house
Our home, our end.
Here the ponytail tree we bought for our fifth anniversary. The winds of change have left it bent, willowed, dry.
Here the weathered leather couch, a companion from our student days. Etched on its leather hours of cuddling, studying, sunday sex and the moment you said we were done.
Here our kitchen, neatly remodelled with every appliance of your choice, the coffee machine desperate for capsules, desperate for the aroma of caffeine mixed with conversation and Springsteen lamenting life, the smell of home.
Here the bed, far too small to hold our truth. At night it wakes, mocks you with the truth: I am gone, I have left.
Here the home we built and every dream we ever held, every hope I ever put in you.
And now
Home is a black suitcase
Marked fragile,
Handle with care.

Copyright Hiraeth 2015



The clock if it
Could speak
Would know the words to
Catch the tear
Straining down your cheek.
If only it could know,
Will us the strength
To get up, lay this down, go.
Instead your expectation
Heavy as lead,
You want my confirmation:
This, between us
Is dead:
And there is nothing,
I feel nothing;
I have nothing to offer;
Nothing comes to mind:
You attribute it to cruelty,
Punishment for unmentioned
And there is nothing,
I begged, pleaded for change,
Compromise, something more,
Anything more,
You shrugged it off,
Passed it off as:

Copyright Hiraeth 2015

Our historic day

10 October 2010 at 10 am:
You lay in a tattoo parlour
Etching pain onto your skin
And admiring the leggy assistant
I stood in court
Nauseated by the simplicity,
Smell –
old wood mixed with stale air –
And pace at which you end
An entire chapter of your life.
Your pain is forever on your skin
Mine is stored in every cell
In every lonely moment
And endings always smell
Old wood and stale air.

Copyright Hiraeth 2015

That tomato

It was lunch time,
Family chatter inbetween the
Sounds of dishing food.
You were talking animatedly,
I was wondering who you are.
And the more you spoke,
The more I focussed on a fly
Sitting on the tomato on your plate.
A determined nuisance;
You would shoo it and it would
Fly back and sit
on the very same tomato.
And I wondered,
Why that one? Why your plate?
And to this day, when I think of
The end of us,
I think of that fly,
On that tomato,
On that day.

Copyright Hiraeth 2015
PAD Challenge 2015 Day 5:
For today’s prompt, write a vegetable poem. I once wrote a poem titled “Tomatoes,” and that would count. If you want to write a poem about a specific vegetable, go for it. If you want to write a poem that just has a vegetable mixed in somewhere, go for it. If you want to praise or curse vegetables, go for it. If you want to play with the idea of vegetables, including a vegetable mental state, couch “potato,” and so on–well, you know, go for it.

How it ended

Boxes, packed and labeled
one by one,
(marked “fragile”, destination: none).
Cutlery, sorted and divided
two by two,
(how many meals I cooked for you).
Coffee mugs, bold and blue
none for him, three for you
(this, this is what you do).
Photos, start to end
Year by year
(captured, I held you dear)
Apartment, sold and empty
day by day
(at least at profit
you would say).
Our foolproof plans,
exposed as a lie
and you, you claim
all you did was try.
Bags, packed and loaded
one by one,
two by two,
go now,
maybe he
is the one
for you.

PAD Challenge 2015 day 4:
For today’s prompt, write a departure poem. Many people depart to school and/or work every day, and they depart on a plane, train, or automobile–some even walk or ride a bike. Of course, that’s keeping things rather physical; there are also emotional and psychological departures. You may even decide to make a departure from your normal writing style in tone or structure today.

Flicker flame

I always thought of myself as a lightbulb, lighting up for you. I think it was obvious to everyone. The mere sight of you would start my cheeks glowing and soon my smile would be so big that too much of my teeth would show. I lit up for you.

For a while the energy sustained us, burned to keep us alive, afloat. And then one day, I started questioning the fairness of one flame.
And I put that fucking flame to death.

Copyright Hiraeth 2014


“There is fuck all out there”, you said, loud enough that I jumped at your tone and knew that finally there was some emotion, even anger was a start to some dialogue about what next. Except it was too late. Emotion and I had long cut ties. Anger, disappointment and sadness, made way for a sea of nothingness. I felt nothing. You launched into a monologue about loyalty and history and first loves and following sunsets and beaches.

I remember staring at the Bougainvilleas outside in our garden and thinking how beautifully they have meshed into each other. It took years for that to happen, years for them to branch out and reach each other, covering the wall for privacy. At least they made the effort, I thought. The ice maker of the fridge grunted in agreement to your list of reasons to stay (at any other time, it may have been some comic relief) and the wedding photo on the antique writing desk looked suddenly out of place. I always thought it should have been a colour photo, you insisted black and white was timeless. Like you thought we were.

Except we weren’t. And as the clock struck three, I thought now is as good a time as any.

“But what if there is,” I said.
And you paled and left, the Bouginvilleas framing our end.

Copyright HiraethPhoenix 2014

Somebody noticed

And before we end this,
Before we each walk in our own direction,
Before we tread with fear into the future
(And there is one for each of us,
Bright as we may choose)
I want you to know,
I want you to know what I should have said, what was in my heart covered in anger, fear and neglect,
What was there, but you refused to see,
(And I carry this cross of blame alone)
All I ever wanted,
Ached for,
Was no one else:
But you.
But you,
You refused to see,
Until one day
Somebody did.
Copyright Hiraeth 2014

Divorce – before you end it

I don’t know you, I don’t know the details of your story, I don’t know the actors, plot or play. But before you make the decision, the one you may already have declared and decided in your heart, I ask you to read this.

I once stood where you are, I once packed my bags and left. There was nothing left in my heart, no love lost. I was numb. I was so determined to end my marriage, that nothing could have stopped me at the time (I sometimes like to think that had he got on a plane and declared his undying love in a banner attached to it, I would have stayed). I felt almost liberated in my decision, as if somewhere there was a crowd of people cheering me on for following my heart, leaving a marriage that was dull and unfulfilling. At that stage, that seemed like a good enough reason, that and the fact that I had fallen in love with someone else.

It never is about a third party, that is true. A marriage is broken long before the heart looks elsewhere. But what no book tells you, the part Paulo Coelho and Eat, Pray and Love leave out, is that when you end your marriage, something sacred dies and you lose parts of yourself you may never recover (not even after visiting every monastery and following every new age ‘follow your heart’, ‘heal your inner child’ philosophy).

Some people say divorce is worse than death, and seven years on, I now agree, particularly those marriages that end for the wrong reason (I exclude abuse and substance dependency) the ‘we have grown apart’ ones. So here is my little list I have compiled over the years of what it is really like ‘uncoupling’ like Gwyneth Paltrow calls it:
· You will never have closure, you will spend the rest of your life wondering if you could have saved your first marriage.
· You will feel a tinge of sadness at every marriage ceremony you attend.
· People linked to your first marriage will die, marry, have kids. These are people you loved and were a part of your life for a long time and a part of you will feel that you have a right to mourn or share in the experience with your partner, but you no longer do.
· Your own family will be torn apart in loyalty.
· You will lose many friends, more than you can imagine now. You may reason that they were not true friends to start off with, but it will still sting.
· Your heart will break the first time you see your partner with his new girlfriend on facebook. They will look like something from the Vampire Diaries and you will feel ugly and insecure.
· A whole part of your life becomes uncomfortable to remember, because so much of you was shared with someone else.
· The day you stand in court and end your marriage, the sun won’t shine any different, the moon won’t shift an inch, no one salutes you for following your heart and your story is unlikely to follow the path of Eat, Pray, Love.
· The next person you fall in love with, is probably a psychopath.
· Long after you are divorced, you will hear a song, read a book or hear a phrase that reminds you of your first marriage.
· You will mourn for a very long time and just when you think you were over it, something will remind you you are not.
· The issues you had with your first partner, will resurface in your next relationship or marriage and be magnified. You will face the same plot, with different actors (and your mother in law may be ten times worse).

This is just my short list.
I once read a list of questions to ask yourself before you get divorced and want to kick myself for not keeping it, but I remember what struck me most was what it means when you have kids. You better be prepared for someone else to be involved in raising your kids and the reality is, you have little say who the person is, and how much influence they will have.

Every marriage deserves a second chance, deserves hours of counciling before that final bell rings and any third party with one fibre of moral value will give the marriage that chance, or forever be doomed to a life of insecurity.

And then, if you still decide to follow that path, know that what comes next is not easy, is not like the movies or any novel you have read. You are going to mourn for yourself, for a shared dream that is lost. You are going to struggle to find yourself again and some parts may be irrecoverable.

But God is gracious and he grants everyone a second chance, a new beginning. Still I think every angel in heaven prays that first marriages survive.

There is no good in divorce. It leaves a trail of destruction, long after those papers are signed and sealed. It results in broken people.
This post was the starting point of a novel that aims to tell the story of a couple’s divorce from both sides.
It is available here.