Two posts reflecting the aftermath of a divorce, by Jennifer Santos Madriaga


The Final  Anniversary

Thirteen years was marked by

the passing of just another day—

the only fanfare was created

by our son, the living keepsake

of our now finished union.

He toddled and played with

his wooden trucks and trains,

pushing them around while

voicing his own version of

sputtering sound effects.

And I was the audience

who oohed and aahed over

his haphazard caravan.

Now it is just our son and me.

And the little dog is the one who

forms the trio of the family tree.

We sat on the living room floor with

the door ajar, and the changing leaves

from the hickory out back supplied

the afternoon glimmer through the windows.

I waited for something to happen that day.

And nothing did.

Even our son made no mention

of you, and the dog napped by my feet

like there was nothing to note.



“…she woke sometimes to feel the daylight coming

like a relentless milkman up the stairs.”

-Adrienne Rich

And once morning settles in, and I’ve shaken off

the stupor of dreams that concern a former life

where I picked out shirts and ties for a man

I no longer love, I step out into the sun to walk the dog,

who knows which way to go despite the chronic

state of my own uncertainty about where to go next.

Life is different, but is it better?

I ask the clouds to give me a sign, and they shift

accordingly to the direction of the wind though

I’m not fluent in the hieroglyphics of the heavens.

What messages am I missing in those wisps

that curl like feathers or waft like a dragon’s exhaled breaths?

The dog pulls me along.  He says the only way is forward.

My God, it is that simple though I look behind my shoulder,

still wondering, still hoping for that miracle to erase my doubt.


Jennifer Santos Madriaga has completed several residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Byrdcliffe Arts Colony, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, including the international location at the Moulin á Nef studios in Auvillar, France. She recently received a 2010 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists grant from the Durham Arts Council and NC Arts Council. Her work has appeared in Bamboo RidgeBellevue Literary Review, Crab Creek Review and others. Her website is