Letter to an Ex
Emily Jalloul

February 18, 2016

Do you still tell yourself stories while on the freeway?
What about the one with the wolves and bears —
did you ever finish it?

Do you still read about Buddhism and war?
Do you still have the LA Times delivered
because you like the way newspaper feels?
Do you still want a mini-van and four kids and two dogs
and all those things I would’ve never given you?
Do you still believe women don’t enjoy sex?
Does your new girlfriend make you spank and choke her,
or does she prefer to make love calmly before watching Nick at Nite
and falling asleep in your arms?

Do you still hate that you’re one-quarter Mexican?
Do you still think I cheated on you?
Do you still eat your eggs with barbecue sauce?
Do you ever wear the hat we picked out in Dublin?
I haven’t worn mine in years.

I see you’ve regrown the goatee,
and you’re finally parting your hair
like I always said you should.
Congratulations on your engagement.
Is she nicer to you than I was?

Do you still air-guitar to Stevie Ray Vaughn
and prefer vinyl and read comic books?
Do you remember the Indian restaurant we used to go to?
They went out of business after you went back to LA.
I don’t know when exactly— I looked for it one day, and it was gone,
replaced by a Vietnamese restaurant
with hanging red lanterns over the patio
and gold smiling Buddhas on either side of the door,
like the one you bought me in J-town
when we were young and in-love.


Emily Jalloul is pursuing her MFA in poetry at Florida International University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pan’Ku, Quest, Yellow Chair Review, Brev Spread, and The Fem.

What motivates her to create:
Food, sex, my family, my friends; all of life.