Afterlife by Kiki Petrosino


My exes shall rise up from their Mazdas
& adorn themselves in denim.

I’ll take their hands & we’ll wander
among the silver asparagus.

Though all are present, it seems to each
that I’m walking with him only.

One brings five white roses again
petals curling in soft paper.

Another comes with a mixtape & drawings:
heart, suitcase, shape of his country.

We’ll sit at the stone table & eat
from the same jar of strawberries & mint.

Each will tell about his wife. The golden hikes
they take after lunch with their dogs.

I’ll show them my books & the healed mark
over my ribcage.

We’ll enter the cottage where our babies sleep
forever in their small beds.

I’ll hum to them in many voices until just
one brightness occurs.

Then, I’ll go alone to the curve of the lake
to see what will jump for me.




Kiki Petrosino is the author of two books of poetry: Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013) and Fort Red Border (2009), both from Sarabande Books. Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Tin House, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. She co-edits Transom, an on-line poetry journal. Petrosino is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, where she directs the creative writing program.