I knew you were drunk last night. Not by the smell as much as the three times you called me beautiful. By the talk of babies and wishes to give me what I want. By the pink cheeks and the newly brushed teeth and the desire to be near me. By the closeness of your body against mine without being inside it.

And you insisted on pleasing me. And my body constricted and there was nothing I could do about the reflex. And I knew that you wanted me to want you to heighten your own wants. The circle ends where it began. And I wished I was the woman you needed and I tried to find her inside my rib cage.

I allowed you to do it and tried to loosen my body and my mind. But there’s no undoing things that aren’t mine; those compulsory and disobedient things. And I tried to make you happy but what should be easy was hard and what should be hard wasn’t. And there was only that softness between us.

And we gave up like we have in so many ways. And you said you’d start searching for her because, we both know, she’s not here. Doors were slammed and I knew you were drunk by the way you snored into your pillow. There is no middle between the silence and the anger. And the part of me I found inside my rib cage hopes you find her so the rest of me can be.


M.A. Jay is a Christian, wife, mother, and teacher. She graduated from Boise State University and currently lives with her husband and son in Indiana. One of her pieces recently received 1st Place in Exposition Review’s Flash 405, April 2016 competition “Fault”, and some of her other work is forthcoming in Animal.

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1 thought on Searching for Her

  1. Ellen O'Donnell

    just beautiful. I understand this piece because I have been in her place. Your discipline with words is lovely. The effort and disappointment of it all. The final line is exquisite. Thank you for articulating what is know but held inside