With whom do you talk 
when you are breaking
up in a small town?

If you end up back together
so much will need to be
ignored at the next potluck,
town hall meeting or 
party you both attend.

Too many will have
contributed the view
that your dear lover
had always been
a poor match,
clearly bad news,
unstable and of
sexual orientation.

Calling distant family
doesn’t work either.
The same dynamics will
arise again at weddings,
funerals and family reunions:

The shifty-eyed double take,
over-wrought greetings with
excessive polite charm,
and eyebrows raised
behind both of your backs.

However –
keeping the break up secret
would prevent the terrifying
offers of sympathy,
shoulders to cry on,
rebound sex and that most
terrible assumption
of your unlikely interest
in other people’s
break up stories.

Better we grow old
quietly apart, and
reporting cheerfully on
the other’s busy schedule
and general well being,
sending apologies for missing
Thanksgiving, the next
anti-war rally and
however many potlucks
you might have avoided